Sendmail processes = 97% of cpu
I am experiencing a problem with sendmail on my server. I have been using a system integrity monitor on the server and have recently been getting the following emails.
System integrity monitor on xxxxxxx.net has taken action in responce to an event. Recent event logs are enclosed below for your inspection. There has been 3 events today, if an average of 8 events is reached, e-mail alerts will be terminated for the duration of the day.
The events in question are the similar to the following:
Oct 31 10:40:35 sendmail: sendmail shutdown succeeded
Oct 31 10:40:39 sendmail: sendmail startup succeeded
When I run the TOP command I get the following information:
PID USER PRI NI SIZE RSS SHARE STAT %CPU %MEM TIME COMMAND
3414 root 25 0 2852 2852 2068 R 22.6 0.2 281:18 sendmail: ./j7U6mTQ29698: from queue
5918 root 25 0 2840 2840 2068 R 22.6 0.2 221:42 sendmail: ./j7U8P1j01281: from queue
15237 root 25 0 2848 2848 2068 R 19.6 0.2 157:32 sendmail: ./j83CUuw25958: from queue
8742 root 25 0 2840 2840 2060 R 17.0 0.2 192:03 sendmail: ./j81Cfh109118: from queue
11734 root 25 0 2840 2840 2060 R 17.0 0.2 172:13 sendmail: ./j82EYVe26050: from queue
I appears that sendmail is spawning processes that consume all the cpu. I have killed the sendmail process several times and the cpu goes back to the normal 2-5% range, however after about 40 minutes there are a few processes that are consuming 97-98% of the cpu. I did not see anything in the queue - I figured it might be trying to send something that was queued there due to the "from queue" listed by the TOP command.
I would appreciate any help in understanding why the processes are consuming so much cpu and how to kill or eliminate the processes themselves.