Kris Kennaway wrote:
This should be unrelated to bzip since that is purely CPU bound. What is causing the interrupts? Check vmstat -i. That is likely to be your real problem.

The cause of the high interrupt incidence was failed DMA operations on my DVD-RW drive.

The situation arose as follows:
1) My backup program executes at 11:30 UTC and uses growisofs to create a DVD on-the-fly.
2) newsyslog executes at 00:00 UTC and compresses the logfiles with bzip2.
3) The DVD-RW drive DMA errors appear.

I've rebooted the system and watched cron execute newsyslog to rotate the logs. I have a bzip2 process that's consuming over 90% of CPU. That can't be normal?

Neil Darlow
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