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Load average goes up to >20 with lots of Apache processes.

My web server is running Apache/2.2.3.

At irregular intervals, during the past few months, the load average sometimes shot up to 20 for many hours. Normally, it should range between 0 to 2. I could not find the cause.

Top command has shown that a number of Apache processes hogging ~50% CPU each.

I searched those PIDs in the Apache server-status module, here are some of them:

Srv PID Acc M CPU SS Req Conn Child Slot Client VHost Request
2-0 17835 0/1/3577 R 0.11 1376 209 0 0 72.22 ? ? ..reading..
4-0 13341 0/31/271 R 0.24 40419 0 0 1 8.64 ? ? ..reading..
6-0 16598 0/9/54 R 0.01 43397 7881 0 0.73 1.82 ? ? ..reading..
9-0 17104 0/4/912 R 0.11 33214 38 0 0 20.01 ? ? ..reading..
15-0 16590 1/12/2000 R 0.14 43449 8937 0 0.06 0.68 ? ? ..reading..
16-0 25771 0/1/823 R 0 33668 176 0 0.17 19 ? ? ..reading..
21-0 3389 0/43/2588 R 0.46 12143 3373 0 0.43 51.22 ? ? ..reading..
25-0 28031 0/2/1042 R 0.14 29686 167 0 0 21.75 ? ? ..reading..
26-0 6242 0/29/2434 R 0.15 12113 1776 0 0.72 53.63 ? ? ..reading..
...

The last 3 columns show no information about client / VHost, and there requests are all "..reading..".

The SS values (Seconds since beginning of most recent request) are all abnormally large, with an average of 6 hours.

How should I verify how the process was generated? Should I kill the processes? (but I'm afraid of breaking something inside)

Thanks.
Sep 26 '12 #1
3 2819
Luuk
1,043 Expert 1GB
My guess is that you did not give enough info to solve this problem.

Please check the error log for you apache server, and google for 'apache server status reading'

Also, did you read Apache Performance Tuning ?

Does your apache use/run PHP scripts?
Sep 29 '12 #2
Hi, I have found the reason. (kinda stupid)
A previous sysadmin set 'Timeout' as a million in apache conf. Some processes never got timed out.
Oct 7 '12 #3
Luuk
1,043 Expert 1GB
And now you only have to find out which processes take too long to complete 'in-time' ?
Oct 7 '12 #4

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