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Subjectksoftirqd using mysteriously high amounts of CPU time
Greetings, all

I'm running into an issue where ksoftirqd/0 consumes a considerably
larger amount of CPU time than it should, and begins to actively
consume 99% CPU time during network operations.

I've done my best to diagnose this, but it has followed me from kernel
2.4.20 to 2.6.3 and all versions in between, on three different server
systems with distinct hardware configurations.

The latest system to be affected by this takes considerably longer to
have trouble, but this is only due to its sheer muscle to begin with (2x
MP 2800+), but does indeed appear. After 55 days of uptime:

5 root 34 19 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:21.40 ksoftirqd_CPU0
6 root 34 19 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:36.31 ksoftirqd_CPU1

Compare this to another machine which I don't run myself:

3 root 19 19 0 0 0 S 0.0 0.0 0:09.86 ksoftirqd_CPU0

There are peculiarities to my configuration which are shared on all the
affected machines - the use of PPPoE to connect is one example. However
on one of the affected systems a second network interface was subjected
to heavy NFS traffic over simple ethernet and exhibited the same
behavior. Another shared trait is a firewall ruleset I've written for
the machines, which I can attach if someone would like to see them.

The three configurations include:

K6-2 500MHz
Ne2K, RealTek 8139

Duron 900MHz
SiS 900, RealTek 8139

2x Athlon MP 2800+
3com 3c905b 10/100+

The issue begins with ksoftirqd consuming more time than usual, and ends
after four to twelve weeks depending on how powerful the machine, with
the machine crippled and unable to sustain network traffic of any kind.
Any assistance on where to look for solutions to this kind of problem
would be GREATLY appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

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