OT: sendmail cmd read

Steve Campbell campbell at cnpapers.com
Mon Jun 12 15:15:28 IST 2006

This is OT, and may have been discussed before... but here goes anyway. 
Google didn't show much on this one.

I am fighting a machine that has recently starting showing increased load 
averages. What used to stay below 5 is now climbing into the 11.+ at times, 
and stays around 8 for most of the day. I have considered bdc as the 
culprit, but really, this hasn't changed recently, as I have not really 
changed anything for a while. I did install a caching name server, but see 
little improvement. I'm not looking for additional "fixes" so much as 
resolving the problem of what is causing this when changes haven't been 
made. The load climbs when MailWatch shows 8+ MailScanner processes (I have 
5 set in Mailscanner.conf) and around 50 sendmail processes. I don't think 
the version of Mailscanner had anything to do with this (4.52.2), and I am 
running this on two other servers without the problem - and clamav and 
bitdefender on the others also.

A 'ps -ax | grep sendmail' has always shown a lot of processes to of the 

sendmail: server [IP address] cmd read

These usually have common IP addresses, and I wonder, firstly, what is 
sendmail really doing at this point, and secondly, is there something that I 
can do that will make the longer-lived processes go away if these are bad 
connections? These sendmail processes tend to gradually climb to a level of 
around 40-50, and never really drop without restarting sendmail. I haven't 
checked to see if they are the same process IDs. I have an idea that these 
are uncompleteable (?) sendmail connections that are started, but not sure.

I'm sure there is a setting in sendmail (8.12 for now)  that might fix this 
(as sort of a timeout thing) , or maybe a milter, but I haven't found it 
yet. I would like to understand, though, what may have caused the increased 
load averages, other than the varying input to sendmail. I realize this 
could be a major factor, but don't see a lot of change in the usual crap 
that comes in daily. Around 40K+ messages a day with about 85-90% spam 
caught. This has been constant for a long time.

Opinions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Steve Campbell
campbell at cnpapers.com
Charleston Newspapers

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