Intel Seamless Update: Intel Preparing For System Firmware Updates Without The Reboot

Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 14 September 2021 at 06:05 AM EDT. 16 Comments
"Intel Seamless Update" is a forthcoming feature for Intel platforms seemingly first being exposed by their new Linux kernel patches working on the functionality... Intel is working on being able to carry out system firmware upates such as UEFI updates but doing so at run-time and being able to avoid the reboot in the process.

Intel Seamless Update is targeting customers that have high service level agreements (SLAs) around downtime. With system firmware updates generally requiring a reboot and that can take down services for several minutes and thus potentially impact any SLA or otherwise just inconvenience users of those services, Intel Seamless Update is their forthcoming approach for being able to handle it during run-time. Such firmware updates could be motivated by bug fixes, security fixes, or performance enhancements.

Intel is working on introducing the Linux kernel support around Seamless Update via their Platform Firmware Runtime Update and Telemetry drivers code.

Intel's tentative code is introducing the "PFRU" ACPI driver for handling the Platform Firmware Runtime Update work from the OS-side. The telemetry support with Platform Firmware Runtime Update / Seamless Update is about being able to fetch and record firmware logs.

Besides these public kernel patches, at the end of August Intel published a whitepaper on the Intel Management Mode Firmware Runtime Update and in there references this new solution as the "Intel Seamless Update".

Given the timing of these kernel patches and the SLA criteria focus, Intel may be preparing for Seamless Update to rollout with Xeon Scalable "Sapphire Rapids" servers next year.
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