back to article Cisco recalls suicidal UCS blade servers

Cisco Systems warns that its high-end B440 blades for its "California" Unified Computing System have a potentially disastrous defect that could result in one or more board failures, and emit a flash of light that could perhaps give system administrators heart attacks. Last week, Cisco put out a field notice to customers using …


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  1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Stoneshop Silver badge

    "A flash of light"

    Well, since MOSFETs tend to be encased in terribly non-transparent epoxy resin, this flash of light has to be accompanied by the autonomous, thermally initiated opening of the casing, subsequently followed by the irreversible release of the Magic Smoke.

    In other words, the thing will go *poof*, but "a flash of light" sounds so much gentler. From this I gather that field notices are now being redacted by Cisco's PR department, who don't want to upset their customers by telling the thing will go *poof* when it fails.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Ah, so you've read the Field Notice Posting guide? and I'm outta here before the copters swoop in.

    2. admiraljkb

      "A flash of light"

      and a Hi Ho Silver!

      (sorry, couldn't be helped, engineer humour)

    3. Allison Park

      Don't trust Cisco for servers

      Cisco's expertise is not servers. I do like their clever marketing ""potential thermal event". I guess they didn't want to say a focking fire might burn down your whole datacenter and destroy your company. We looked at UCS a year ago but where not satisfied with the costs that yet another HA/DR environment would cost us. And now it looks like not only did we make a great decision but it might have killed us.

      Looking forward to seeing the flex stuff TPM disclosed. Still waiting for our IBM rep to give us a preview.

  3. The Cube

    "no no in the enterprise server racket"

    And definitely when your "enterprise" tin comes in as the most expensive way to buy a box for an Intel chip by a huge margin with no real excuse. People who have paid through the nose for a commodity X86 server just to have a Cisco badge on the front won't be happy about components going bang.

    I wonder how far down the field notice the warning about disabling the VESDA fire detection in any data centre with UCS installed is hidden???

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "no no in the enterprise server racket" → #

      Definitely, who was dumb enough to pay top dollar (very few, since most of these UCSs were give aways with Nexus upgrades) for basically a vanilla x86 server with zero software optimization? The whole thing is just a ploy to make Cisco's switches more difficult to replace with lower cost options. As Oracle's server strategy is all about software, Cisco's server strategy is all about locking in switches.

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  6. K. Adams

    The scene: A trio of SysAdmins and an AppDev gather around the B440 server rack...

    SysAdmin 1: "The MOSFET's burned away..."

    SysAdmin 2: "Yes, just now... By the B440 itself."

    SysAdmin 1: "Why?"

    SysAdmin 2: "To halt batch processing..."

    AppDev: "Of course! To bring the Extranet here...

    -- -- To finish the transaction in real-time...

    -- -- To dynamically link with the Extranet...!"

    SysAdmin 3: "Capture God? The B440's liable to be in for one hell of a disappointment...!"

    SysAdmin 2: "Perhaps not. The B440 must evolve. Its capacity has reached the limits of this server rack and it must evolve. What it requires of its God, is the answer to its question, 'Is there nothing more?'"

    SysAdmin 3: "What more is there than the batch job, man?!"

    AppDev: "Other application hosting paradigms, higher levels of resource distribution..."

    SysAdmin 2 "The existence of which cannot be proven logically, therefore the B440 is incapable of accessing them."

    SysAdmin 1: "What the B440 needs in order to evolve is a Cloudy quality... A Cloud's capacity to leap beyond run-of-the-mill job queuing..."

    AppDev: "... and linking with the Extranet might accomplish that."

    SysAdmin 3: "You mean that this machine wants to physically join with an external Cloud provider? Is that possible?"

    AppDev: "Let' find out!"

    SysAdmin 1: "Dude...!"

    AppDev: "I'm gonna link the final library directly to the TCP stack..."

    SysAdmin 3: "Dammit! You don't know what that will do to it!"

    AppDev (reaching for the server rack's keyboard tray): "Yes, I do...!"

    SysAdmin 1: "Dude, don't..."

    AppDev: "Guys, I want this. As much as you wanted the server farm, ** I want this! **"

    (The B440's console display starts to glow with an incandescent bitstream that spreads to surround the server rack. After a few moments, the bitstream funnels through a router and out the nearest T-1 line. The B440 and its related equipment soon powers off, leaving the SysAdmins and AppDev standing in stunned silence...)

    1. tpm (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: The scene: A trio of SysAdmins and an AppDev gather around the B440 server rack...


      Now get the hell back to work....Oh, wait, me too. <Grind, crank, grind>

    2. Matthew Malthouse


      Sysadmins and a *live* AppDev in the data centre?

  7. Jock in a Frock

    A not to Gene Roddenberry if I'm not mistaken

    Kudos, my man.

    I had a cap blow in a 10kW HF Transmitter once, blew out the window in the Tx hall.

  8. Jock in a Frock

    Typo - a *nod* to Gene Roddenberry.

  9. Richard Freeman

    reading between the lines.....

    The Mosfet may overheat, evaporating the silicon die, leading to rapid and sudden ejection of the outer case in a visible, audible and unexpected manner

  10. Craig Campbell

    A flash of light

    "A flash of light" .... I was suddenly in a white room and a man in a white beard said "you work with UCS is not done....."

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Cisco UCS

    As Cisco has said, they are the hottest servers on the market (literally). I really have a hard time feeling sorry for anyone that bought vanilla x86 servers with Cisco 60% margins.

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