I woke up this morning and checked my email.

Tried to, anyway. IMAP server wasn't responding. Tried to SSH in. Nothing. No ping, either. This is not how I envisioned the morning going.

Hooked a monitor and keyboard to the Mac mini. What was up: load average through the roof and a series of messages stating mclpool limit reached: increase NMBCLUSTERS.

Groggily, I figured something weird must have happened to my normally stable server, and I'd gladly sacrifice a four-month uptime to avoid having to think about it. Rebooted. Went back to bed.

I woke up this afternoon and once again failed to check my email. Same symptoms. Slightly more awake, I thought: what have I changed recently? Couldn't imagine how they'd affect anything, but I rolled back greetdelay and dovecot to yesterday's versions. No help. Then I noticed a whole bunch of httpd processes. Hmmmm. That didn't look right. Stopped Apache and things gradually got better. Hmmmm.

I got on IM in case any of my friends had noticed that nothing was working and wanted to get a hold of me. davidj was online and filled in my mental blank: it wasn't that I'd changed the server configuration in a way that made it less stable, it was that he'd gotten a story on his web site featured on Digg, and our web server was getting hammered.

I started Apache and watched the number of processes grow until things went predictably awry, then entered a smaller number for MaxClients in httpd.conf and restarted. Lo and behold, web requests were handled a little sluggishly, but the machine's other services were unaffected.

I'm glad this happened: the next time one of the mini's users makes it big, we'll be better prepared. And the rest of my day was blissfully uneventful.