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I'm having a rather strange problem with exim mailq command (or the equivalent exim -bp or exim -bpc). My mail queue is empty, yet it takes around 1 minute (or more) for the command to return...

$ time mailq
real    0m50.803s
user    0m0.040s
sys     0m0.040s

time exim4 -bpc

real    1m24.697s
user    0m0.000s
sys 0m0.300s

I tried to check a few things:

  1. nothing special in /var/log/exim4/mainlog; paniclog is empty
  2. Nothing blocked on firewall
  3. /etc/resolv.conf seems ok, name resolution works fine
  4. /etc/hosts, /etc/hostname and /etc/mailname all seem fine (correct name/ip)
  5. Nothing special in /var/log/syslog or /var/log/messages or /var/log/kern.log

Does anyone have some similar experience or any other suggestions where the problem might be?

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

The mailq command needs to read the on-disk mail queues; try running iostat or dstat in a second terminal while executing the command, if it shows much disk I/O then you have a disk or filesystem bottleneck.

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Thanks for the suggstion. Oddly, the problem with mailq seem to have been resolved (it runs as normal again). I'm not entirely sure why, but looking at our munin graphs I do see a spike in IO around the same time. I'd have to investigate this somehow. Looks like an IO problem not specific to exim then... – Yoav Aner Dec 6 '11 at 11:10

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