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 impact of the security fix varies depending on what your workload is.

Gaming, which all runs in user space, rather than kernel space, seems largely unaffected.

Similarly, I would question whether a well tuned DB would be heavily affected, since it's largely IO bound as a rule, rather than heavy kernel CPU.

Best plan is to start preparing for increased CPU counts, but wait to verify it's a problem first.

... or buy AMD. ;)

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