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Subjectinit consumes 99% cpu, syslog Z

I am using linux-2.4.18 (vanilla, from
on a RedHat 7.3 release. The filesystem is XFS. When
doing heavy I/O (16 processes each writing or reading
between 2 and 5 GB of data to a 2TB XFS filesystem), I
see wierd unsolvable problems -

Firstly, init all of a sudden starts consuming upwards
of 99% cpu (the profiler shows that it spends most of
it's time in the functions
send_sig_info()/force_sig_info()). Pretty soon (10-15
seconds or so), syslogd becomes a zombie, with init
still spinning in R mode.

Absolutely nothing in /var/log/messages; and dmesg
shows nothing either. No visible barfing. And this
goes on and on.

Any process I run after this keeps getting segfaults,
and also ends up becoming a zombie. This problem
repeats exactly on other identical machines.

The system is a dual-CPU 2.4Ghz Dell 2650 machine and
the problems show up without hyperthreading too. The
problem shows up without XFS too.

Any ideas/suggestions?

Thanks and Regards,

PS: I am not on the list.

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