teknolojiarsivi.com May 27, 2018

Intel Firmware Updates and Initial Performance Data

19 January 2018, 02:01 | Harold Aguilar

Just four per cent of biz mobes have been patched against Meltdown and Spectre

Just four per cent of biz mobes have been patched against Meltdown and Spectre

The general manager of the data center group, Navin Shenoy said in a statement on Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC)'s website that the company has confirmed the patches for the security issues might cause more than expected reboot rates in Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge, Skylake and Kaby Lake processors.

"We have reproduced these issues internally and are making progress toward identifying the root cause", Shenoy said. Intel also said it had initiated updates for 90% of its processors that are up-to five years old.

"Intel recommends that these partners, at their discretion, continue development and release of updates with existing microcode to provide protection against these exploits, understanding that the current versions may introduce issues such as reboot in some configurations", the chipmaker said, in a blog post. "But we have more work to do".

Tests were conducted by the company on Intel's Skylake two-socket Xeon processor systems, its latest server microarchitecture.

The Spectre/ Meltdown issue is penetrating all through the computer industry as affected hardware OEMs are pushing out patches continuously, while wrongdoers attempt to take benefit out of it. Zen-based CPUs Threadripper and Ryzen from Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.

"We have received reports from a few customers of higher system reboots after applying firmware updates", Shenoy said in a January 11 blog post. This means that the performance impact is far from a settled matter. It found that the fixes don't affect servers' energy efficiency and it didn't detect a slowdown when running Java business applications.

And, while Intel's data centre tests replicating a stock exchange scenario show a performance slowdown of 4%, different scenarios can induce a considerably more significant slowdown.

Intel issued the update as part of a broader update on the performance impact of the patches on data center workloads. For workloads that need to write data to a storage component, the performance hit from the patches can be as high as 18 percent depending on CPU utilization. Using SPDK iSCSI, there was a impact as high as 25% while using only a single core.

The company is also looking at incorporating Google's Retpoline (return trampoline) software solution to mitigate the performance impact of the security patches.

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