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You need to find out what's using the memory and see if you need all the programs (maybe there are services started at boot and you don't need them?). To see the amount of memory used by all applications use
command. Memory usage (in %) is in the 4th column. Check for most memory-hungry programs. If you're unsure if you can turn them off, post their names.
Also try running top, which sorts the processes in order of most CPU usage to least. Sometimes it's easy to miss a CPU-hog in a long list, but with top, the biggest process will appear first, making it hard to miss.
Personally I do not think it would be necessary to switch distros. I would be willing to bet that you just have a runaway process eating those CPU cycles. -- J.W.
No, just offering a possibility. The above commands won't hurt your disk; check the man pages for "hdparm" and "smartd". Run them, then think about whether or not the disk could be a problem. Maybe the way your database is set up is causing seek time problems ? I don't know, just some things to consider, since you seem to have plenty of cpu and memory to spare.
It's usual for httpd and mysqld to have multiple instances, though, helps out when faced with multiple requests I believe.