> From: tomgra...@gmail.com
> 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.

My understanding is that with cloud servers, you don't actually have a
particular system, you have a virtual system which can get loaded onto
any of a zillion real systems.  That doesn't matter much, except that
your disk isn't directly attached to the system that runs your code.
Your disk is part of a huge disk farm that only appears to be directly
attached.  So the problem is likely to have something to do with how
Rackspace's disks work.

One thing to check is what the basic disk I/O rate is.  You can use dd
to and from a really large file (much bigger than your RAM) to test
that.  Depending on what Rackspace has done to the OS, accessing
directory information might be strange.  Try doing "time file
[working-copy] >/dev/null" a couple of times in a row to see how
long it takes to work through directory structures.


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