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Our system just suffered through a huge surge in connections. Our load balancer graphs reflect this surge in connections. Netstat graphs reflect this surge in connections. Our Apache Processes graph reflect this surge in connections. But the Apache Accesses graph does not.

What would cause a spike in apache processes but not apache accesses?

I had assumed that "apache accesses" meant "requests to apache".

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It is a common situation when request processing time increases suddenly for a short period of time. Apache starts additional processes because existing processes are not able to keep up with the same number of requests. This can be caused by resource contention, say problems on a DB layer like long-running or I/O-intensive CPU queries performed, say, by maintenance scripts or something like this. You really need to monitor DB health too (and other resources like queue servers too if you have any).

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