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Advisory: (Revision) HP ProLiant Servers Using Certain Dual-Core or More Than One Single-Core AMD Opteron Processor May Experience Incorrect Operating System Time When Running Systems That Use the System Time Stamp Counter

SUPPORT COMMUNICATION - CUSTOMER ADVISORY

Document ID: c01075682

Version: 3

Advisory: (Revision) HP ProLiant Servers Using Certain Dual-Core or More Than One Single-Core AMD Opteron Processor May Experience Incorrect Operating System Time When Running Systems That Use the System Time Stamp Counter
NOTICE: The information in this document, including products and software versions, is current as of the Release Date. This document is subject to change without notice.

Release Date: 2008-07-31

Last Updated: 2013-04-09


DESCRIPTION

Document Version
Release Date
Details
3
07/31/2008
This does not affect AMD Opteron 2300-series Quad-core Processors or Opteron 8300-series Quad-core Processors therefore; this does not affect any ProLiant G5-series servers with an AMD processor such as the ProLiant BL465c G5 server blade or ProLiant DL585 G5 server.
2
07/16/2007
Added Sun Solaris information.
1
06/08/2007
Original Document Release.

HP ProLiant servers configured with Dual-Core or with more than one single-core AMD Opteron processor may encounter Time Stamp Counter (TSC) drift in certain conditions. The TSC is used by some operating systems as a timekeeping source. Each processor core, whether it is a single-core processor or a dual-core processor, includes a TSC. The condition where the TSC for different processor cores becomes unsynchronized is known as TSC drift.

Note: The potential for TSC drift if the proper recommendations are not applied when using AMD Opteron 200-series, Opteron 800-series, Opteron 1200-series, Opteron 2200-series and Opteron 8200-series processors is not specific to HP ProLiant servers.

This does not affect AMD Opteron 2300-series Quad-core Processors or Opteron 8300-series Quad-core Processors.

Whether or not the system is affected by TSC drift depends on the specific ProLiant server generation, the number and type of AMD Opteron processors installed, the operating system, and whether the AMD PowerNow! feature is being utilized. TSC drift can result in different symptoms and behaviors based on the operating system environment, as detailed below:

Microsoft Windows Server 2003
This condition affects operations such as network communications and performance monitoring tasks that are sensitive to system time. For example, Microsoft Active Directory domain controllers can report an Unexpected Network Error (Event ID 1054) with the following description:

Event Description:
Windows cannot obtain the domain controller name for your computer network. (An unexpected network error occurred.). Group Policy processing aborted.

In addition, a negative PING time or larger than actual PING time may be returned after issuing the PING command. The negative PING time occurs because of a Time Stamp Counter drift occurring on AMD Opteron platforms which include more than one processor core.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and Sun Solaris
Earlier releases of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 and Sun Solaris 10 will default to using the Time Stamp Counter as the default time source for gettimeofday() calls. When the time stamp counter is used, the server may exhibit some inconsistent timekeeping and the following symptoms may be observed:

  • When a command such as "date" is typed, an incorrect system time may be displayed.
  • The kernel may report an error similar to the following:
    kernel: Your time source seems to be instable or some driver is hogging interrupts

Newer operating systems typically do not use the TSC by default if other timers are available in the system which can be used as a timekeeping source. Other available timers include the PM_Timer and the High Precision Event Timer (HPET). All HP ProLiant servers include the PM_Timer, and the latest generation of HP ProLiant servers supporting AMD Opteron 2200-series and 8200-series processors support HPET. These timers are not affected by this condition. New operating systems such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 10, and Microsoft Windows Server 2008 (codename Longhorn) are not affected by this issue.

Note 1: Some applications use the Time Stamp Counter even though the operating system is configured to use a different timer as the timekeeping source. To determine if a specific application uses the TSC as the timekeeping source, contact the software vendor.

Note 2: For example, Microsoft SQL Server 2005 uses the Real Time Stamp Counter (RDTSC) instruction to acquire the 64-bit CPU tick count. This value can be divided by the CPU frequency to convert the value to millisecond values. Timing variations can occur when the CPU frequency changes or drift occurs. For additional information, refer to the Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 931279 - SQL Server timing values may be incorrect when you use utilities or technologies that change CPU frequencies located at the following Microsoft URL:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/931279 Non-HP site

SCOPE

Any HP ProLiant server configured with more than one single-core AMD Opteron processor or configured with one (or more) dual-core AMD Opteron 200-series, Opteron 800-series, Opteron 1200-series, Opteron 2200-series or Opteron 8200-series processors running the following operating systems:

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 (any edition)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition (any edition)
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4(x86) or earlier
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 (AMD64/EM64T) or earlier
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 32-bit (x86) or earlier
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 64-bit (AMD64/EM64T) or earlier
  • Sun Solaris 9
  • Sun Solaris 10 3/05 (32/64 bit)
  • VMware ESX Server 2.5.4 (or earlier)

Note: VMware ESX Server 2.5.4 with the January 2007 (or later) patch is not affected. VMware ESX Server 3.0.0 (or later) uses an alternate mechanism for timekeeping and is not affected by the potential TSC drift.

Note: The issue does not affect systems with only one single-core processor installed.

This does not affect ProLiant G5-series servers configured with an AMD processor such as the ProLiant BL465c G5 server blade or ProLiant DL585 G5 server. These servers do not support the AMD Opteron 200-series, Opteron 800-series, Opteron 1200-series, Opteron 2200-series or Opteron 8200-series processors.

The following servers are affected when running an affected operating system:

  • HP ProLiant BL465c server blade
  • HP ProLiant BL685c server blade
  • HP ProLiant BL25p G2 server
  • HP ProLiant BL45p G2 server
  • HP ProLiant DL145 G3 server
  • HP ProLiant DL385 G2 server
  • HP ProLiant DL585 G2 server
  • HP ProLiant DL365 server
  • HP ProLiant ML115 server

The following servers are affected ONLY when using the AMD PowerNow! feature and running an affected operating system:

  • ProLiant BL25p server blade
  • HP ProLiant BL45p server blade
  • HP ProLiant DL145 G2 server
  • HP ProLiant DL385 server
  • HP ProLiant DL585 server

The following operating systems are not affected by TSC drift because these operating systems do not use the TSC as a timekeeping source:

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 (codename Longhorn)
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (x86)
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (AMD64/EM64T)
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 (x86)
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 (AMD64/EM64T)
  • VMware ESX Server 3.0.0 (or later)

RESOLUTION

For AMD Opteron 2300-series Quad-core Processors and Opteron 8300-series Quad-core Processors, time Stamp Counter (TSC) drift does not occur therefore; ProLiant G5-series servers configured with an AMD processor such as the ProLiant BL465c G5 server blade and ProLiant DL585 G5 server are not affected. The potential for TSC drift is not applicable because these servers do not support the AMD Opteron 200-series, Opteron 800-series, Opteron 1200-series, Opteron 2200-series and Opteron 8200-series processors.

For AMD Opteron 200-series, Opteron 800-series, Opteron 1200-series, Opteron 2200-series and Opteron 8200-series processors, to ensure proper operation of tasks sensitive to system time, perform either of the following actions, based on the operating system environment:

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 (any edition)
Edit the BOOT.ini file and add the parameter "/usepmtimer," then reboot the server. Adding the "/usepmtimer" parameter to the BOOT.INI file configures the Windows operating system to use the PM_TIMER, rather than the Time Stamp Counter.

Note 1: When installing the AMD Opteron Processor with AMD PowerNow! Technology driver Version 1.3.2.16 (or later) from AMD, the BOOT.INI file will automatically be updated with the "/usepmtimer" parameter. While the driver itself does not resolve this issue, the installation process will make the necessary changes to the BOOT.INI file to prevent the issue from occurring.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 or SUSE Linux
Add the boot parameter "clock=pmtmr" to the /boot/grub/menu.lst file. Adding the "clock=pmtmr" to the /boot/grub/menu.lst file configures the operating system to use the PM_TIMER, rather than the Time Stamp Counter.

Sun Solaris
If using Sun Solaris 10 3/05 apply the 1/06 (Update 1) Patch (or later). To locate the latest version of the Solaris 10 patch, click on the following Sun Microsystems URL, and click on the desired patch:

http://www.sun.com/downloads Non-HP site

VMware
If using VMware ESX Server 2.5.4, update to the January 2007 Patch (or later). To locate the latest version of the ESX Server 2.5.4 patch, click on the following VMware URL, and click on the desired patch.

http://www.vmware.com/download/esx/esx2_patches.html#c4317 Non-HP site

Software Applications:

To prevent TSC drift completely on any application that accesses the TSC directly for example, Microsoft SQL server 2005 on the HP ProLiant DL585 G2 server and HP ProLiant BL685c server blade, perform the following:

  1. Disable AMD PowerNow! driver if installed.

  2. Disable C1 clock ramping using the ROM-Based Setup Utility (RBSU) option provided with HP ProLiant Single-User System ROM Solution for the HP ProLiant DL585 G2 server and HP ProLiant BL685c server blade. The Single-User ROMs with an option for disabling CI clock ramping are available as follows:

    For the ProLiant BL685c Blade Server, upgrade to a System ROM Version 2007.09.12 (or later) using the CP008462 Online Rom Flash components for Windows, available at the following URL:

    ftp://ftp.hp.com/pub/softlib2/software1/sc-windows-fw-sys/p429183821/v44271



    For the ProLiant DL585 G2 Server, upgrade to a System ROM Version 2007.09.10.

    For Windows, use the CP008430 Online Rom Flash components for Windows, available at the following URL:

    ftp://ftp.hp.com/pub/softlib2/software1/sc-windows-fw-sys/p1764145602/v44187



    For Linux, use the CP008432 Online Rom Flash components for Linux, available at the following URL:

    ftp://ftp.hp.com/pub/softlib2/software1/sc-linux-fw-sys/p725340764/v44189

Disclaimer:

NOTE: One or more of the links above will take you outside the Hewlett-Packard Web site, HP does not control and is not responsible for information outside of the HP Web site.

RECEIVE PROACTIVE UPDATES : Receive support alerts (such as Customer Advisories), as well as updates on drivers, software, firmware, and customer replaceable components, proactively via e-mail through HP Subscriber's Choice. Sign up for Subscriber's Choice at the following URL:


NAVIGATION TIP : For hints on navigating HP.com to locate the latest drivers, patches, and other support software downloads for ProLiant servers and Options, refer to the Navigation Tips document .
SEARCH TIP : For hints on locating similar documents on HP.com, refer to the Search Tips document .
To search for additional advisories related to ProLiant servers, use the following search string:
+Advisory +ProLiant -"Software and Drivers"
KEYWORDS : time sync, clock, track time

Hardware Platforms Affected: HP ProLiant BL25p G2 Server Blade, HP ProLiant BL25p Server Blade, HP ProLiant BL45p G2 Server series, HP ProLiant BL45p Server series, HP ProLiant BL465c Server Blade, HP ProLiant BL685c Server Blade, HP ProLiant DL145 G2 Server, HP ProLiant DL145 G3 Server, HP ProLiant DL365 Server, HP ProLiant DL385 G2 Server, HP ProLiant DL385 Packaged Cluster with MSA500G2, HP ProLiant DL385 Server, HP ProLiant DL585 G2 Server, HP ProLiant DL585 G2 Storage Server, HP ProLiant DL585 Server, HP ProLiant DL585 Storage Server, HP ProLiant ML115 Server, VMware Virtualization Software for HP ProLiant Servers
Operating Systems Affected: Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition(Standard HP Product), Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Enterprise x64(Standard HP Product), Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise X64 Option Kit SW(Standard HP Product), Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard Edition (deleted), Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard X64 Option Kit SW(Standard HP Product), Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition(Standard HP Product), Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Standard x64(Standard HP Product), Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Web Edition(Standard HP Product), Red Hat Enterprise Linux 2.1(Standard HP Product), Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 (x86)(Standard HP Product), Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 (x86-64), Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 (x86), Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 (x86-64), SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 (AMD64)(Standard HP Product), SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 (x86)(Standard HP Product), SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 (AMD64/EM64T)(Standard HP Product), SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 (x86)(Standard HP Product), Sun Solaris 10(Standard HP Product), Sun Solaris 9(Standard HP Product)
Software Affected: Not Applicable
Support Communication Cross Reference ID: IA01075682
©Copyright 2013 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P.
Hewlett-Packard Company shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein. The information provided is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. To the extent permitted by law, neither HP or its affiliates, subcontractors or suppliers will be liable for incidental,special or consequential damages including downtime cost; lost profits;damages relating to the procurement of substitute products or services; or damages for loss of data, or software restoration. The information in this document is subject to change without notice. Hewlett-Packard Company and the names of Hewlett-Packard products referenced herein are trademarks of Hewlett-Packard Company in the United States and other countries. Other product and company names mentioned herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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