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I have taken delivery of two identically specced CentOS/cPanel servers, showing the same behaviour of a resting load average of 1.30, 1.21, 1.16 and yet the CPU is sitting 100% idle.

Hardware:

  • Xeon(R) CPU E3-1270
  • 4GB RAM

Behavior:-

  • top shows CPU 99.9% idle
  • virtually no disk IO

Some command output :-

uname -a

Linux server.myserver.com 2.6.18-308.4.1.el5PAE #1 SMP Tue Apr 17 17:47:38 EDT 2012 i686 i686 i386 GNU/Linux

top

top - 10:37:50 up  1:47,  1 user,  load average: 1.28, 1.20, 1.17
Tasks: 199 total,   1 running, 198 sleeping,   0 stopped,   0 zombie
Cpu(s):  0.0%us,  0.0%sy,  0.0%ni, 99.9%id,  0.1%wa,  0.0%hi,  0.0%si,  0.0%st
Mem:   4125104k total,   438764k used,  3686340k free,    25788k buffers
Swap:  2096440k total,        0k used,  2096440k free,   291080k cached

  PID USER      PR  NI  VIRT  RES  SHR S %CPU %MEM    TIME+  COMMAND
    1 root      15   0  2160  640  552 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.89 init
    2 root      RT  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 migration/0
    3 root      34  19     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 ksoftirqd/0
    4 root      RT  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 watchdog/0
    5 root      RT  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 migration/1
    6 root      34  19     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 ksoftirqd/1
    7 root      RT  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 watchdog/1
    8 root      RT  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 migration/2
    9 root      35  19     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 ksoftirqd/2
   10 root      RT  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 watchdog/2
   11 root      RT  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 migration/3
   12 root      34  19     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 ksoftirqd/3
   13 root      RT  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 watchdog/3
   14 root      RT  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 migration/4
   15 root      34  19     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 ksoftirqd/4
   16 root      RT  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 watchdog/4
   17 root      RT  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 migration/5
   18 root      38  19     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 ksoftirqd/5
   19 root      RT  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 watchdog/5
   20 root      RT  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 migration/6
   21 root      34  19     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 ksoftirqd/6
   22 root      RT  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 watchdog/6
   23 root      RT  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 migration/7
   24 root      34  19     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 ksoftirqd/7
   25 root      RT  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 watchdog/7
   26 root      10  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:06.42 events/0
   27 root      10  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 events/1
   28 root      10  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 events/2
   29 root      10  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 events/3
   30 root      10  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 events/4
   31 root      10  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 events/5
   32 root      10  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 events/6
   33 root      10  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 events/7
   34 root      10  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 khelper
   35 root      10  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 kthread
   45 root      13  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 kblockd/0
   46 root      10  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 kblockd/1
   47 root      14  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 kblockd/2
   48 root      10  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 kblockd/3
   49 root      10  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 kblockd/4
   50 root      10  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 kblockd/5
   51 root      10  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 kblockd/6
   52 root      10  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 kblockd/7
   53 root      10  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 kacpid
  189 root      11  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 cqueue/0
  190 root      11  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 cqueue/1
  191 root      12  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 cqueue/2
  192 root      12  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 cqueue/3
  193 root      13  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 cqueue/4
  194 root      13  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 cqueue/5
  195 root      14  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 cqueue/6
  196 root      14  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 cqueue/7
  199 root      10  -5     0    0    0 S  0.0  0.0   0:00.00 khubd

ps axf

PID TTY      STAT   TIME COMMAND
    1 ?        Ss     0:00 init [3]
    2 ?        S<     0:00 [migration/0]
    3 ?        SN     0:00 [ksoftirqd/0]
    4 ?        S<     0:00 [watchdog/0]
    5 ?        S<     0:00 [migration/1]
    6 ?        SN     0:00 [ksoftirqd/1]
    7 ?        S<     0:00 [watchdog/1]
    8 ?        S<     0:00 [migration/2]
    9 ?        SN     0:00 [ksoftirqd/2]
   10 ?        S<     0:00 [watchdog/2]
   11 ?        S<     0:00 [migration/3]
   12 ?        SN     0:00 [ksoftirqd/3]
   13 ?        S<     0:00 [watchdog/3]
   14 ?        S<     0:00 [migration/4]
   15 ?        SN     0:00 [ksoftirqd/4]
   16 ?        S<     0:00 [watchdog/4]
   17 ?        S<     0:00 [migration/5]
   18 ?        SN     0:00 [ksoftirqd/5]
   19 ?        S<     0:00 [watchdog/5]
   20 ?        S<     0:00 [migration/6]
   21 ?        SN     0:00 [ksoftirqd/6]
   22 ?        S<     0:00 [watchdog/6]
   23 ?        S<     0:00 [migration/7]
   24 ?        SN     0:00 [ksoftirqd/7]
   25 ?        S<     0:00 [watchdog/7]
   26 ?        S<     0:06 [events/0]
   27 ?        S<     0:00 [events/1]
   28 ?        S<     0:00 [events/2]
   29 ?        S<     0:00 [events/3]
   30 ?        S<     0:00 [events/4]
   31 ?        S<     0:00 [events/5]
   32 ?        S<     0:00 [events/6]
   33 ?        S<     0:00 [events/7]
   34 ?        S<     0:00 [khelper]
   35 ?        S<     0:00 [kthread]
   45 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kblockd/0]
   46 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kblockd/1]
   47 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kblockd/2]
   48 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kblockd/3]
   49 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kblockd/4]
   50 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kblockd/5]
   51 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kblockd/6]
   52 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kblockd/7]
   53 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kacpid]
  189 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [cqueue/0]
  190 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [cqueue/1]
  191 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [cqueue/2]
  192 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [cqueue/3]
  193 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [cqueue/4]
  194 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [cqueue/5]
  195 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [cqueue/6]
  196 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [cqueue/7]
  199 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [khubd]
  201 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kseriod]
  301 ?        S      0:00  \_ [khungtaskd]
  302 ?        S      0:00  \_ [pdflush]
  303 ?        S      0:00  \_ [pdflush]
  304 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kswapd0]
  305 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [aio/0]
  306 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [aio/1]
  307 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [aio/2]
  308 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [aio/3]
  309 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [aio/4]
  310 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [aio/5]
  311 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [aio/6]
  312 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [aio/7]
  472 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kpsmoused]
  551 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [ata/0]
  552 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [ata/1]
  553 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [ata/2]
  554 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [ata/3]
  555 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [ata/4]
  556 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [ata/5]
  557 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [ata/6]
  558 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [ata/7]
  559 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [ata_aux]
  569 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [scsi_eh_0]
  570 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [scsi_eh_1]
  571 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [scsi_eh_2]
  572 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [scsi_eh_3]
  573 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [scsi_eh_4]
  574 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [scsi_eh_5]
  593 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kstriped]
  630 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kjournald]
  655 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kauditd]
 1860 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kmpathd/0]
 1861 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kmpathd/1]
 1862 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kmpathd/2]
 1863 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kmpathd/3]
 1864 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kmpathd/4]
 1865 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kmpathd/5]
 1866 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kmpathd/6]
 1867 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kmpathd/7]
 1868 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kmpath_handlerd]
 1902 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kjournald]
 1904 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kjournald]
 1906 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kjournald]
 1908 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kjournald]
 1910 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kjournald]
 2184 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [iscsi_eh]
 2288 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [cnic_wq]
 2298 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [bnx2i_thread/0]
 2299 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [bnx2i_thread/1]
 2300 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [bnx2i_thread/2]
 2301 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [bnx2i_thread/3]
 2302 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [bnx2i_thread/4]
 2303 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [bnx2i_thread/5]
 2304 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [bnx2i_thread/6]
 2305 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [bnx2i_thread/7]
 2330 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [ib_addr]
 2359 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [ib_mcast]
 2360 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [ib_inform]
 2361 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [local_sa]
 2371 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [iw_cm_wq]
 2381 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [ib_cm/0]
 2382 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [ib_cm/1]
 2383 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [ib_cm/2]
 2384 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [ib_cm/3]
 2385 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [ib_cm/4]
 2386 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [ib_cm/5]
 2387 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [ib_cm/6]
 2388 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [ib_cm/7]
 2398 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [rdma_cm]
 2684 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [bond0]
 2882 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [bond1]
 3195 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kondemand/0]
 3197 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kondemand/1]
 3198 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kondemand/2]
 3199 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kondemand/3]
 3200 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kondemand/4]
 3201 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kondemand/5]
 3202 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kondemand/6]
 3203 ?        S<     0:00  \_ [kondemand/7]
  688 ?        S<s    0:00 /sbin/udevd -d
 2425 ?        S<Lsl   0:00 iscsiuio
 2432 ?        Ss     0:00 iscsid
 2434 ?        S<Ls   0:00 iscsid
 3061 ?        S<sl   0:00 auditd
 3063 ?        S<sl   0:00  \_ /sbin/audispd
 3121 ?        Ss     0:00 syslogd -m 0
 3124 ?        Ss     0:00 klogd -x
 3220 ?        Ss     0:00 irqbalance
 3278 ?        Ss     0:00 dbus-daemon --system
 3324 ?        Ss     0:00 /usr/sbin/acpid
 3337 ?        Ss     0:00 hald
 3338 ?        S      0:00  \_ hald-runner
 3345 ?        S      0:00      \_ hald-addon-acpi: listening on acpid socket /var/run/acpid.socket
 3349 ?        S      0:00      \_ hald-addon-keyboard: listening on /dev/input/event1
 3360 ?        S      0:00      \_ hald-addon-storage: polling /dev/sr0
 3413 ?        Ssl    0:00 automount
 3435 ?        Ssl    0:00 /usr/sbin/named -u named
 3466 ?        Ss     0:00 /usr/sbin/sshd
 4072 ?        Ss     0:00  \_ sshd: root@pts/0
 4078 pts/0    Ss     0:00      \_ -bash
 5436 pts/0    R+     0:00          \_ ps axf
 3484 ?        Ss     0:00 xinetd -stayalive -pidfile /var/run/xinetd.pid
 3500 ?        SLs    0:00 ntpd -u ntp:ntp -p /var/run/ntpd.pid -g
 3514 ?        S      0:00 /bin/sh /usr/bin/mysqld_safe --datadir=/var/lib/mysql --pid-file=/var/lib/mysql/server.myserver.com.pid
 3575 ?        Sl     0:00  \_ /usr/sbin/mysqld --basedir=/ --datadir=/var/lib/mysql --user=mysql --log-error=/var/lib/mysql/server.myserver.com.err --pid-fil
 3687 ?        Ss     0:00 /usr/sbin/exim -bd -q1h
 3709 ?        Ss     0:00 /usr/sbin/dovecot
 3710 ?        S      0:00  \_ dovecot-auth
 3725 ?        S      0:00  \_ pop3-login
 3726 ?        S      0:00  \_ pop3-login
 3727 ?        S      0:00  \_ imap-login
 3728 ?        S      0:00  \_ imap-login
 3729 ?        Ss     0:00 /usr/local/apache/bin/httpd -k start -DSSL
 4326 ?        S      0:00  \_ /usr/bin/perl /usr/local/cpanel/bin/leechprotect
 4332 ?        S      0:00  \_ /usr/local/apache/bin/httpd -k start -DSSL
 4333 ?        S      0:00  \_ /usr/local/apache/bin/httpd -k start -DSSL
 4334 ?        S      0:00  \_ /usr/local/apache/bin/httpd -k start -DSSL
 4335 ?        S      0:00  \_ /usr/local/apache/bin/httpd -k start -DSSL
 4336 ?        S      0:00  \_ /usr/local/apache/bin/httpd -k start -DSSL
 4337 ?        S      0:00  \_ /usr/local/apache/bin/httpd -k start -DSSL
 4382 ?        S      0:00  \_ /usr/local/apache/bin/httpd -k start -DSSL
 4383 ?        S      0:00  \_ /usr/local/apache/bin/httpd -k start -DSSL
 4384 ?        S      0:00  \_ /usr/local/apache/bin/httpd -k start -DSSL
 5389 ?        S      0:00  \_ /usr/local/apache/bin/httpd -k start -DSSL
 5390 ?        S      0:00  \_ /usr/local/apache/bin/httpd -k start -DSSL
 3741 ?        Ss     0:00 pure-ftpd (SERVER)
 3746 ?        S      0:00 /usr/sbin/pure-authd -s /var/run/ftpd.sock -r /usr/sbin/pureauth
 3759 ?        Ss     0:00 crond
 3772 ?        Ss     0:00 /usr/sbin/atd
 3909 ?        S      0:00 cpsrvd (SSL) - waiting for connections
 5435 ?        Z      0:00  \_ [cpsrvd-ssl] <defunct>
 3931 ?        S      0:00 queueprocd - wait to process a task
 3948 ?        S      0:00 tailwatchd
 3954 ?        SN     0:00 cpanellogd - sleeping for logs
 4003 ?        Ss     0:00 ./nimbus /opt/nimsoft
 4016 ?        S      0:00  \_ nimbus(controller)
 4053 ?        Sl     0:00      \_ nimbus(spooler)
 4066 ?        S      0:00      \_ nimbus(hdb)
 4069 ?        S      0:00      \_ nimbus(cdm)
 4070 ?        S      0:00      \_ nimbus(processes)
 4023 ?        S      0:00 /usr/sbin/smartd -q never
 4027 tty1     Ss+    0:00 /sbin/mingetty tty1
 4028 tty2     Ss+    0:00 /sbin/mingetty tty2
 4029 tty3     Ss+    0:00 /sbin/mingetty tty3
 4030 tty4     Ss+    0:00 /sbin/mingetty tty4
 4031 tty5     Ss+    0:00 /sbin/mingetty tty5
 4033 tty6     Ss+    0:00 /sbin/mingetty tty6
 4035 ttyS1    Ss+    0:00 /sbin/agetty -h -L ttyS1 19200 vt100

vmstat 10 6

procs -----------memory---------- ---swap-- -----io---- --system-- -----cpu------
 r  b   swpd   free   buff  cache   si   so    bi    bo   in   cs us sy id wa st
 0  0      0 3718136  25684 257424    0    0     8     3  127  189  0  0 100  0  0
 0  0      0 3718136  25700 257420    0    0     0     7 1013 1500  0  0 100  0  0
 0  0      0 3718136  25700 257424    0    0     0     1 1013 1551  0  0 100  0  0
 0  0      0 3718136  25700 257424    0    0     0     0 1012 1469  0  0 100  0  0
 1  0      0 3712680  25716 257424    0    0     0     2 1013 1542  0  0 100  0  0
 0  0      0 3718376  25740 257424    0    0     0    46 1017 1534  0  0 100  0  0

Can anyone advise me as to what is the cause of and how I may resolve this behaviour? A kernel/driver conflict perhaps?

I don't see any processes in R or D state that might inflate the load averages artificially, I realise it may be considered low in an 8 thread system but its higher at idle than any normal behaviour I've previously come across.

Thanks in advance for your time.

Edit:

iotop

Total DISK READ: 0.00 B/s | Total DISK WRITE: 0.00 B/s
  TID  PRIO  USER     DISK READ  DISK WRITE  SWAPIN     IO>    COMMAND
   26 be/3 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.29 % [events/0]
 3205 be/3 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.10 % [kondemand/2]
 3208 be/3 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.00 % [kondemand/5]
 3209 be/3 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.00 % [kondemand/6]
 3207 be/3 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.10 %  0.00 % [kondemand/4]
 3210 be/3 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.00 % [kondemand/7]
 3227 be/4 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.00 % irqbalance
 3288 be/3 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.00 % [rpciod/1]
 3287 be/3 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.00 % [rpciod/0]
 3206 be/3 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.00 % [kondemand/3]
 3069 be/3 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.00 % auditd
 3070 be/2 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.00 % audispd
  655 be/3 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.00 % [kauditd]
 3619 be/4 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.00 % automount
    3 be/7 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.00 % [ksoftirqd/0]
 3068 be/3 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.00 % auditd
   29 be/3 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.00 % [events/3]
    4 rt/3 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.00 % [watchdog/0]
    7 rt/3 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.00 % [watchdog/1]
   10 rt/3 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.00 % [watchdog/2]
   13 rt/3 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.00 % [watchdog/3]
   16 rt/3 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.00 % [watchdog/4]
   19 rt/3 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.00 % [watchdog/5]
   22 rt/3 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.00 % [watchdog/6]
   25 rt/3 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.00 % [watchdog/7]
   27 be/3 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.00 % [events/1]
   28 be/3 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.29 %  0.00 % [events/2]
   30 be/3 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.00 % [events/4]
   31 be/3 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.00 % [events/5]
   32 be/3 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.00 % [events/6]
   33 be/3 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.00 % [events/7]
   34 be/3 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.00 % [khelper]
   35 be/3 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.00 % [kthread]
   45 be/3 root        0.00 B/s    0.00 B/s  0.00 %  0.00 % [kblockd/0]
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You need to use top -H. You are not getting the full picture. –  Matthew Ife Oct 18 '13 at 15:10

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top indicates I/O wait, so something is using the disk. I like iotop to identify which process(es) are the cause; from there, it's process-specific to work out why and how to stop it (if, indeed, it is a problem). There's also the possibility that the I/O subsystem is misconfigured, but you haven't really given enough information to be able to help with that.

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Thanks for your reply womble, I have edited my question to include output from iotop as suggested. –  Jax Apr 19 '12 at 16:50

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