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In many cases, the operating system is capable of continued operation after an error has occurred.
However, the system is in an unstable state and rather than risking security breaches and data corruption, the operating system stops to prevent further damage and facilitate diagnosis of the error and, in usual cases, restart.
Kernel panics can also be caused by errors originating outside kernel space.
The basic assumption is that the hardware and the software should perform correctly and a failure of an assertion results in a panic, i.e. The kernel panic was introduced in an early version of Unix and demonstrated a major difference between the design philosophies of Unix and its predecessor Multics.
Multics developer Tom van Vleck recalls a discussion of this change with Unix developer Dennis Ritchie: I remarked to Dennis that easily half the code I was writing in Multics was error recovery code. If there's an error, we have this routine called panic, and when it is called, the machine crashes, and you holler down the hall, 'Hey, reboot it.'" function was essentially unchanged from Fifth Edition UNIX to the VAX-based UNIX 32V and output only an error message with no other information, then dropped the system into an endless idle loop.
I have seen this behaviour to several servers that have been upgraded from Cent OS 6 but in non of the few with fresh Cent OS 7 installations.
Systems upgraded from 6 to 7 may still be using grub instead of grub2, and 3.10.0-229.1.2 isn't adding an initrd line to grub.conf, as a workaround you can add initrd /initramfs-3.10.0-229.1.2.el7.x86_64to manually after the kernel line, or upgrade to grub2. The new kernel was installed but I hadn't rebooted to see the issue yet.