Originally Posted by unSpawn
The reasons the SSH service would fail are in the highly improbable range. Restarting a service without investigating why (and remedying that) is like tending to symptoms instead of addressing the root cause. So I'd say gather information, analyse and fix the root cause instead of blithely restarting a service like nothing exceptional happened.
Thanks for the reply unSpawn. To address your "restarting without investigating" comment, I partially noted why in my second paragraph. I was investigating, but finding nothing useful in the logs I was searching, so I needed more time to investigate why this was happening.
I'm also somewhat new to linux administration, so I'm slow at figuring out issues, but users were waiting on me to get them reconnected, so the clock was ticking until I either fixed the issue or it happened again. If I don't know a quick solution to a problem, or can't put my complete attention on an issue, I try to find a temporary workaround to get things/users working, then attack the root problem. What I was asking for was a solution to buy me time, not a permanent workaround.
I'm not sure where you got the impression I was "blithely restarting a service like nothing exceptional happened", but I have to chuckle to myself at how different peoples perceptions can be when digesting the exact same post.
For anyone else finding this, the issue ended up being rather simple. We were issued an ip for this machine that had already been assigned elsewhere. Duplicate IP.