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From Stut <>
Subject [users@httpd] High load, low CPU and processes in state "devfs"
Date Fri, 13 Jun 2008 21:30:58 GMT

I have a problem with one of the web servers I manage. It runs FreeBSD  
6.2, Apache 2.2.8 and PHP 5.2.1. It runs a high-ish number of pre-fork  
processes (usually around 240).

What basically happens is that during our peak hours in the evening  
the site becomes very slow as does everything on the server. The top  
output shows nearly all httpd processes in the state "devfs" and the  
load is jumping up over 10 but the CPU is 70% idle. There's plenty of  
free memory, over 4GB, and lots of available disk space.

While it's in this state all disk access is painfully slow. I've  
checked all the drives and the RAID card status and everything appears  
to be fine. It also recovers itself after a few hours when the traffic  
dies down again.

I've spent a lot of today Googling but can't find any reference to  
this particular combination of symptoms. Does anyone have any ideas?




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