> > Try disabling usb and firewire in BIOS. You may need to have
> > a tech there do it for you. Your box has the sk NIC and usb
> > sharing an irq. The NIC driver is MPSAFE but the usb stack is
> > still under the GIANT lock. Disable usb and the NIC driver
> > should perform better.
> 
> Alternatively, to avoid involving the provider's tech support,
> could the OP get the same effect by building a kernel without USB?

>From server support live chat:

>Steven H. - Server Support: Submit a trouble ticket and we will 
>look into it further. I'm pretty sure they will not disable usb 
>since the DC technicians need to boot from USB in some cases.

So is there any other way to verify that this is indeed the problem? Perhaps
as Perry suggested, building a kernel without usb/firewire, or possibly
setting the irq manually so it's not shared?

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