Hi Thomas

The copy in question is definitely on the ext3 filesystem alongside the OS. 
This is the "prod" version, I put it on the SSD for the speed benefit. 
There is an ext4 disk mounted, and 2 'test' copies on this. When I run 
'time git status' on one of the test versions I get
## On branch master
# Changed but not updated:
#   (use "git add <file>..." to update what will be committed)
#   (use "git checkout -- <file>..." to discard changes in working 
#   (commit or discard the untracked or modified content in submodules)
#    modified:   perl (modified content)
no changes added to commit (use "git add" and/or "git commit -a")

real    0m0.883s
user    0m0.272s
sys    0m0.538s

The test versions are pretty much the same as 'prod' just with a few work 
in progress items. Anyway, its obviously a lot faster. Frustratingly, it's 
the disk that is supposed to be fast that is incredibly slow. 

By the way, if you want to know why its an ext3 install with an ext4 
mounted 'data' disk - this is because it is a rackspace 'cloud' hosted 
server. It appears rackspace will only let us install on ext3 because the 
server needs to run their 'nova-agent' software (or some such reason I 
can't quite fathom. I do wonder if the problem is not in fact something 
their software is doing. I checked memory usage though, and that doesn't 
seem to be too bad.)

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