back to article Red Hat slams into reverse on CPU fix for Spectre design blunder

Techies are scratching their heads after Red Hat pulled a CPU microcode update that was supposed to mitigate variant two of the Spectre design flaw in Intel and AMD processors. This U-turn follows VMware, Lenovo, and other vendors, stalling on rolling out microcode patches after Intel admitted its firmware caused systems to …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Clusterfuck

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Spectral Melted Down Clusterfuck.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Microsoft once again releases software without proper QA and let's their users do the testing!?

      ...hang on, this was Linux? Well, everyone has a bad day now and again, no worries! And this isn't a bad bug anyway. And there still are no Windows computers in TOP500, so there!

    3. jmch Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Very clusterfuck.

      I've seen similair thing with VMWare ESXi Hypervisor. Last week they issued a patch supposedly to cover Spectre/Meltdown. This week they recalled the patch saying it contained vulnerable microcode from Intel.

      Similair pattern with vendors presumably unable to solve very complex issue quickly without Intel getting their own shit together first.

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      would of expected more from the red-hat camp, Frankly I'm surprised

      "Would have"

      "Red Hat"

      "camp. Frankly, I'm"

      Jesus. One line....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I make sure there are no red lines when I post.

        Apologies for my shitty English.

        I suppose there is little point posting again, thanks Dickhead.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As there is currently no sign of in the wild exploitation, the wise wait until the beta testers have torn their hair out first.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Indeed.

      However, if you're unlucky enough to have a VPS hosted by Linode, you don't become the wiseman. You become the beta tester.

      1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

        Errr

        So I am a betatester.. well, I know as I have my nodes updated... they work, and are stable, at least for me running ubuntu 16.04 LTS

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        linode - depends on whether you have a xen based server, most should be on kvm.

        softlayer, dediserve, hostvirtual however fail as they use xen

  4. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Special Forces Charlie Foxtrots coming to a server/server farm close to you soon.

    Turns a server farm into a sewerage farm with no effort on your side...

  5. rob_leady
    WTF?

    Why would techies be scratching their heads ?

    It was well publicised by Intel that the microcode updates were causing reboot issues, and Red Hat have simply followed all of the other vendors and pulled those updates.

    Do keep up... !

    1. ranger

      Re: Why would techies be scratching their heads ?

      Exactly this. VMWare have pulled patches (https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/52345 ), as have Lenovo (https://support.lenovo.com/gb/en/solutions/len-18282 ), due to the bug in Intel's microcode fix. I'm not sure why the article suggests this is anything else.

      1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: Re: Why would techies be scratching their heads ?

        Thanks! Article updated.

        C.

  6. jake Silver badge

    With any luck at all the patch broke systemd ...

    ... and RedHat will finally drop the clusterfuck as more trouble than it's worth.

    1. cs9

      Re: With any luck at all the patch broke systemd ...

      Why stop with getting rid of systemd? How about getting rid of multithreading/multiprocessing altogether? That would have avoided all these spectre/meltdown type bugs and would provide a more genuine 70s-era feel than going back to init.d could ever hope to do.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: With any luck at all the patch broke systemd ...

        cs9, I'm all for change. Change is good. But only when that change is actually good. Look a the source for init, and think about what, exactly, this little bit of code actually does. It's really quite simple and elegant. You can read it for yourself, it's not all that difficult to understand. One tiny little thing that does one job, and does it well. It's almost a poster child for what un*x code is all about.

        Then I look at the grossly overweight (and growing by leaps and bounds!) clusterfuck called systemd, with all it's bells and whistles and unnecessary hangers-on, with more getting press-ganged into it on a regular basis with no rhyme or reason ... and I just say no. It's an accident waiting to happen. I want nothing to do with that kind of sloppy shit anywhere near my PID1.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Almost There and Back Again..

    This is really a surprise.. and to think we just patched VMware yesterday.. so all these will be for naught?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Almost There and Back Again..

      You think you had it bad? Our old vCenter Server wouldn't take a bloody upgrade, so I've been running around like a madman deploying a new one and cutting over the hosts out-of-hours so that I can install a later version of ESXi without losing management of the host.

      All of the pissing about trying to get the vCenter Server VM onto the vDS without it falling over. All of the hassle cutting the hosts from the old vDS to the new one (shutdown, reconfigure network, restart each one). Then Veeam has (understandably) decided that these are all new VMs and have nothing to do with the existing backups, so our backups have suddenly exploded in size. Some of the backups were still running into working hours the other day as it tried to catch up. now VMware's Update Server wants to remediate all the VMs with a new version of VMware Tools, so cue another bout of updates...

      All I wanted was a nice simple patch for an old version of ESXi. Actually, ignore that. All I wanted is for vCenter to actually accept the update that I've tried putting on it a dozen times... So yeah, I've put in a lot of hours over the last couple of weeks, I'm tired, and it'd better bloody not be all for naught. :-/

      1. Nate Amsden Silver badge

        Re: Almost There and Back Again..

        I had to rebuild a vcenter server last year due to OS corruption in windows. Database for vmware lives on separate linux host with oracle. Used same vcenter version but the process itself was straight forward(reinstall and connect hosts). No complications. No issues with VDS or anything else. I spent a lot of time trying to repair main vcenter since i was quite paranoid about rebuilding it live(never had to do it before ). But once i gave up on that the process took just a few hrs.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Almost There and Back Again..

          External DB was probably the way to go, and it's something we've discussed from time to time, but it's not all that big a deployment and we wanted to keep it simple, so we did the nasty SQL Express onboard job.

          I'm not sure I'd be terribly comfortable having the database on a separate SQL server in case of trouble. But I guess if I deployed a pair of vCenter Servers talking to the same database on an Availability Group then the odds of something breaking hard enough to shut the lot down are pretty slim.

          On the plus side, two of our sites are on Hyper-V, so it was relatively simple to get them up to speed. This third site is 5 timezones away, so we can get at least an hour and a half of clear patching time before even the most enthusiastic of users arrive.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One beeeeeeleeeon kb!

    So, they patched the akamai/facebook CPU superslurper?

  9. Lorribot

    With vCentre, ESXi patches, hardware firmware updates all before guest hardware updates and OS patches now required to implement the fixes it has become a monumental process from what started out as just an OS patch now known to be flaky and break many key applications (anyone brave enoght to patch SAP servers yet?) and no microcode.

    Given they had 6 months to sort this out I would have hoped they could have got it all together and presented as one unified here's your plan and what you need to do, rather than drip feed patches and keep changing their minds as to what actually needs to be done and by whom.

    Complete balls up by the the whole industry that really needs to get its shit together and realise they only exist because of their customers.

  10. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    ESXi/vmWare haven't been updated yet. Waiting for others to suss out the issues first.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    my haswell works just fine

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes just got bitten in the ass by that and spent a few hours in a server cupboard unborking it. Thanks Redhat.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      "Thanks Redhat Intel"

      Fixed it for you...

  13. danito

    "A senior techie who spoke to us on condition of anonymity".

    He wants to be anonymous because he's embarrassed, any senior should know this. The answer is very simple. There is just 1 way to mitigate Spectre variant 2. You need new instructions added to the CPU, that the OS will then invoke when appropriate. These new instructions are added with a CPU microcode update. The update doesn't "stick" to the CPU, so each time the system is rebooted, the microcode update needs to be re-applied again. Linux already offers a way to load new microcode each time the OS boots, Windows DOES NOT. So, what do you do for Windows? You need a BIOS update. The BIOS update re-applies the microcode update each time the system is restarted, pretty much the same time Linux already does. So there you go, Windows needs a BIOS update because Microsoft is too lazy to implement microcode loading in the OS. If you have a Linux system and did the BIOS update, you don't need the OS microcode update. If you run Linux and absolutely want the microcode update, you need to download the file from Intel's website and put it in the right place. Otherwise just sit back and relax, there are no exploits right now, so no hurry people ;-)

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: danito

      Pretty sure the microcode adds an MSR that can control CPU behavior to mitigate the vulnerability (ICBW) and there is exploit code. It's available for Meltdown and Spectre. It's generic.

      C.

    2. david 12 Silver badge

      re: danito

      >So there you go, Windows needs a BIOS update because Microsoft is too lazy to implement microcode loading in the OS. If you have a Linux system and did the BIOS update, you don't need the OS microcode update.<

      I don't know what you thought you meant, because you haven't explained it very well. Windows does do microcode updates, and has for years.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OS crashes after microcode update??

    What feature of an OS would cause it to crash after a microcode update that is (presumably) doing cache clearing or pipleline clearing?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: OS crashes after microcode update??

      Timing, as they say, is everything.

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