Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 3rd Jan 2018 00:42 UTC

A fundamental design flaw in Intel's processor chips has forced a significant redesign of the Linux and Windows kernels to defang the chip-level security bug.

Programmers are scrambling to overhaul the open-source Linux kernel's virtual memory system. Meanwhile, Microsoft is expected to publicly introduce the necessary changes to its Windows operating system in an upcoming Patch Tuesday: these changes were seeded to beta testers running fast-ring Windows Insider builds in November and December.

Crucially, these updates to both Linux and Windows will incur a performance hit on Intel products. The effects are still being benchmarked, however we're looking at a ballpark figure of five to 30 per cent slow down, depending on the task and the processor model. More recent Intel chips have features - such as PCID - to reduce the performance hit.

That's one hell of a bug.

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The planet will pay the price
by benoitb on Wed 3rd Jan 2018 07:44 UTC
Member since:

I didn't see anyone mention it but there will be an ecological price to pay for that bug.

In my work we have about 100 big servers crunching data for a network operator, that is only for 1 customer. A 20% hit means we will have to buy extra servers to compensate as we cannot afford to loose data.

This will cost not just money and deployment work time but 20% extra power usage from now on...

Reply Score: 6

grat Member since:

Since I'm assuming you're using fairly modern CPU's that support the 'PCID' feature, which minimizes the performance impact of the fix (~5%) it shouldn't be too drastic.

Obviously, if you're at the edge of the performance cliff already, you'll be affected, but if you're riding the edge, you're already screwed and should be in the process of buying more hardware.

Or perhaps you should make a pitch for ThreadRipper / Epyc based systems. ;)

Edited 2018-01-03 08:06 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2