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Want a good read? Try FreeBSD Mastery: Jails (IT Mastery Book 15)
Why was the website so slow for so long?
The cause of the slowdown was a change to the ZFS dataset. In conjunction with the database server, very little caching was being done. This combination resulted in increased disk I/O as the system churned through the database. Details in the blog post which outlines the various things which changed. Many graphs.