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As you can see from the picture http://i.imgur.com/UpDZh.png), my server is suffering a serious drop in speed. This is intermittent and has been happening for the past 3 or 4 hours. The server has 1gbps uplink so I can't figure out why it's happening. Checking bandwidth monitoring tools like bwm-ng and dstat show normal speeds of like 150kb/s outbound traffic. Just now I was completely disconnected from SSH.

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You need to look at the server's monitoring information when it's slow. How big is the cache? How loaded is the CPU? How much network traffic is there? And so on. –  David Schwartz Jun 1 '12 at 2:30
it's slow now: the cpu is 0.01 0.05 0.07, network traffic is between 5-10kb/s. Haven't changed any settings lately. When I ping the server, I get 75% packet loss on a few different platforms (cmd ping, pingdom). No weird processes etc.. –  Tar Jun 1 '12 at 2:34
It sounds like a possible network issue between you and the server. It could also be some kind of attack running the server out of something. For example, if you use flow tracking, someone can run you out of flow tracking entries. –  David Schwartz Jun 1 '12 at 2:52
it's slow for other admins as well.. the owner of the server is gone for a few days so really don't know what i'm supposed to do. zzz –  Tar Jun 1 '12 at 4:01
Could you get any more details of what is going on, or is it just a mysterious phenomenon? –  Dmitri Chubarov Jun 1 '12 at 7:19

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