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When I sat down at my Ubuntu 14.04 system this morning, the root cron job /usr/lib/php5/sessionclean was running over 50 times at once, producing 50+ copies of the following commands:

root      8147  0.0  0.0  65852  1580 ?        S    May13   0:00 CRON
root      8148  0.0  0.0   4444   648 ?        Ss   May13   0:00 /bin/sh -c   [ -x /usr/lib/php5/maxlifetime ] && [ -x /usr/lib/php5/sessionclean ] && [ -d /var/lib/php5 ] && /usr/lib/php5/sessionclean /var/lib/php5 $(/usr/lib/php5/maxlifetime)
root      8153  0.0  0.0   4444   648 ?        S    May13   0:00 /bin/sh /usr/lib/php5/sessionclean /var/lib/php5 24
root      8154  0.0  0.0   7328   644 ?        S    May13   0:00 /usr/bin/lsof -w -l +d /var/lib/php5
root      8155  0.0  0.0   7544   688 ?        S    May13   0:00 awk -- { if (NR > 1) { print $9; } }
root      8156  0.0  0.0   7480   612 ?        S    May13   0:00 xargs -i touch -c {}
root      8157  0.0  0.0   7328   108 ?        D    May13   0:00 /usr/bin/lsof -w -l +d /var/lib/php5

System load was 60+. This has never happened before. Any hypotheses?

At the same time, one of my NFS mounts (/mnt/foo/bar) went down while an rsync job was writing to it, so rsync was hanging. Could that be related?

1

Yes, the lsof checks the all filesystems for open files, so this is likely the course. You should probably use 'soft' option on your NFS mount if that might happen often.

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