Jamie wrote:

That is a good idea, thanks. We did check that though. Went through each user's accounts checking their .forwards and procmaillrc files.

    We are running spamassassin 2.55, and in the global procmailrc file we
call spamc which connects to a spamd running on another machine.

    Are you aware of any other system utilities that might be used to
trace CPU consumption and trap problems? We've taken a lot of stabs in the
dark with what it could be, and we'd like to try some solid diagnostic
utils to shed more light.

- Jamie

Try running systat -vm, that should give you a good overview over what happens when the load skyrockets.

I had a similar problem once, not as extreme as the one you describe but the symptoms where the same. A few times a day one of our servers reported load averages at about 5.0-5.5. By the time I got there (30 second run to the serverroom) the server was always back to almost idle, avg around 0.2-0.5. The only thing that was different in this compared to most of the other servers was the nic. Since the onboard nic died we had to replace it with a low profile PCI nic. I cant remember the exact make and model, but it was probably something cheap from the nearest computer store.
Using systat I noticed that during the bursts of high loads the number of interrupts on the nic went skyhigh. We replaced the nic with a more wellknown brand, and the server flatlined its load average. Its still doing exactly the same tasks but rarely goes above 0.1.


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