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Subjectfilesystem access slowing system to a crawl

maybe you could help me out with a really weird problem we're having
with a NFS fileserver for a couple of webservers:

- Dual Xeon 2.2 GHz
- 6 GB RAM
- QLogic FCAL Host adapter with about 5.5 TB on a several RAIDs
- Debian "woody" w/Kernel 2.4.19

Running just "find /" (or ls -R or tar on a large directory) locally
slows the box down to absolute unresponsiveness - it takes minutes
to just run ps and kill the find process. During that time, kupdated
and kswapd gobble up all available CPU time.

The system performs great otherwise, so I've ruled out a hardware
problem. It can't be a load problem because during normal operation,
the system is more or less bored out of its mind (70-90% idle time).

I'm really at the end of my wits here :-(

Any help would be greatly appreciated!


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