Some Intel Atom Chips Have a Major Flaw
Major, major problems coming your way!
If you are using any of the following: Cisco gear, Asus gear, Meraki gear, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Juniper Networks, NEC, Netgate, Netgear, Quanta, Seagate, Sophos, Supermicro, Sonology, Zinx, among the many that were affected, you have a big problem.
Intel’s low-end line of server processor, Intel Atom, which can be found in most mobile devices such as smartphones, and lightweight laptops among others just hit a big wall and have been struggling for the past months.
Find out more on today’s TechSanity Check.
Flaw in some Intel Atom chips has reportedly been bricking products for at least 18 months
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Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors.
Airing date: 03/03/2017
Some Intel Atom Chips Have a Major Flaw – Cisco – HP – Juniper – Dell
Craig Peterson: Oh, I’m gonna be so glad when this week is over. And this is Craig Peterson. You know we were talking about the cloudbleed bug which is absolutely massive. Again, change your passwords. Change your passwords. Now, here’s another one. And I haven’t talked to you guys about this before. But wow. Major, major problems coming your way. If you are using, you name it, Cisco gear, Asus gear, Meraki gear, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Juniper Networks, NEC, Netgate, Netgear, Quanta, Seagate, Sophos, Supermicro, Sonology, Zinx, and more here. But if you’re using any of those, stick around. I got some real bad news coming your way.
Sigh, sigh, sigh. As I’ve said, what a day. This is absolutely been a nutty week this week. A big, big flaw. Thank you Intel. Intel, of course, makes a lot of CPUs, Central Processing Units. And they’re used in all kinds of stuff out there. And there’s competition to Intel. Some of which, by the way, is really benefitting from today’s news. IBM being one of them. But Intel had a line of processors that were designed to be kind of low-end server processors. We’re talking about Intel Atom boxes, Atom chips. And they were designed to be inexpensive, kinda lightweight for a small server. Intel thought, hey you know, we can make these things. We can get them out there and people will just love them because nowadays, who needs a whole lot of computing power really. Having a hundred of these things in a small data center is gonna be more beneficial than having a few blade servers with the big Xeon processors.
So, they came out with the Atom processor for use in servers. And, you know, that’s not a bad idea. I can see why they were thinking that. Atom processors have been pretty popular in devices such as little laptops, lightweight laptops and things. They just don’t have the processing power. But Intel was selling them and was selling them into the markets that included some of the networking gear. The Ciscos, the Junipers, HP and others. And they were using them in these switches not to route data, but in fact, just to be basic controller. So that the data as it was coming in might be run through ASICs, it might be run through other types of network devices. But you had this one central controller. That’s what the whole idea is, right?
So they had their controllers. They had their CPUs that were running these. Now a regular desktop, a regular laptop is something that maybe, maybe has a 3 year lifespan. Maybe a 5 year lifespan. And if you’re talking about regular PC laptops, of course, the average lifespan right now is for under a year. A lot less than a year, to have that before it completely dies on you. Well, when you’re talking about networking gear, you’re about a life cycle that probably extends for a decade. So when Intel announced that they have a problem with some of these chipsets, these particular Atom family which is the C2000 family. When they announced they have a problem with that chipset, and you look at it and say ok, what’s it going to affect? It’s gonna affect some low-end laptops, you know some of these web-based, kinda like a Chromebook, think of that kind of laptop. And you don’t really think about the networking devices or the servers that they might be in because Intel, in fact, killed off that product line. These are older chips. They’re no longer being used in new systems.
Here’s our problem. Remember I said the network devices typically are in use for a good 10 years? Intel disclosed that this entire chip family, at first they thought it was just one batch of chips that were bad. And then as they investigated more they found it wasn’t indeed the entire series of chips that are bad. And now I’m sitting here thinking about some of the devices we have that might have this very problem. And Intel figured this out in foreign people. Cisco was the first to announce the problem. But they die. These chips stop functioning after about 18 months. So think about that. Now they don’t know it’ll die at 18 months. Some of them will last a little bit longer. But that means embedded network devices, devices you don’t even think about, are starting to die. How’s that for fun? And they’re starting to die because, you know, we’ll get a little technical here, but there’s a special kind of clock that is in the chips. Think of it kinda like a metronome that keeps everything synchronized, everything paced properly. And that nice little chip and its clock are now just totally, totally FUBAR. They are gone. They are shot. So I’m glad, you know, we sell a lot of Cisco Meraki gear. We’re the number one installing reseller here in the Northeast United States. So we deal a lot with these. So I’m glad that Cisco was the first to, you know, come belly up if you will, and say yeah, we got this problem. And Cisco is starting to replace the gear, the equipment. Any of the machines that had been made from Cisco and Meraki since this problem was discovered, all of those, none of those used any of this bad technology from Intel. Cisco and Meraki are replacing all of these devices.
Now, you know, I mentioned when we first started here, a list. And you’ll see a full list up on my website at http://CraigPeterson.com. But you know, this list is very long. It is including everybody, right? You know Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Juniper, Cisco, Meraki, Asus, Supermicro. You know we’re talking about some of the number one manufacturers of devices out there. Seagate, guess what they make. They make NAS boxes that have this in it. Sophos. Those guys make hardware, software that’s designed for security. Wow. Wow. But look at the difference. Sophos’ announcement here on February 10th, if deployed, and the model number’s an XG, or SG125, or 135. Or if it fails to boot, notify Sophos customer support. And then they will ship you another one. Versus Cisco that says hey listen. You have a maintenance contract, we’re fixing this for you. Don’t worry about it. Now, Intel says that they’re working on a solution and they think they have a solution that can be integrated into a motherboard. Unfortunately, these motherboards are already made. They’re already installed and we may not see the problems pop up their ugly heads for years to come. I don’t know. I don’t know what to do. Intel’s gonna lose more customers. They really, really messed this one up. You gotta bet that there’s a cover up involved. People had to have known about this. And you can also, I can guarantee there’s gonna be some major lawsuits launched here against Intel for having such a major design flaw. I mean, absolutely major, major, major.
You know, having this problem in your machine means that your machine will no longer boot, it will no longer work. It’s trash, right? It’s gone. So these are the Intel C2000 server platforms. That’s the, I guess it’s Avoton, is it how they pronounce that? A-V-O-T-O-N, and Rangeley low power variants. All based on the Atom. And they all have serious, serious problems. Oh my gosh. I’m just looking at the… there’s a few articles out there. But people really aren’t talking about this. I hope I didn’t bore you to death. But if you any networking devices and you have bought them over the last, about 3 years, you really need to reach out the manufacturer and check with them.
Now, we’re doing a big deployment for one of our clients that’s an international corporation and public company. And we were doing a deployment for a phone system from Cisco. A very large with call centers and everything else deployment, which is one of the things we do. And then we had all the networking equipment that goes along with it coz, of course, nowadays it’s voice over IP. So we’ve actually put that deployment on hold right now while we sort things out. They’ll stick with their old phone system and we’re gonna get new hardware here. We hope soon from Cisco. Just because we don’t wanna install stuff that’s gonna break on our customers and they agreed to holding off on the deployment. A little bit of a delay even though the equipment now has been delivered.
So, major issues. Major problems. Check with your vendors. This is going to ugly heads for the next 5 years. What a week. Thank God it’s Friday, right? Oh my goodness. And we are going to be pre-recorded tomorrow on the terrestrial broadcasting here, AM and FM over on iHeart. We are now getting ourselves this podcast as well over on iHeart. And we are now on SoundCloud. We’re on TuneIn. And of course you can find it also at iTunes. Just http://CraigPeterson.com/itunes. And thanks everybody. Glad you could join us today. And we will be back, probably you’re not gonna hear from me until, I guess, next week and Monday because that’s when we’ll post the weekend show. Take care. Have a great day. Thanks for listening. Bye bye.
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