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When talking a local systems guru, Dave Liddell, he suggested I monitor my EC2 resources a little more closely. Using AWS EC2 is still just shared hosting. This plugin allows you to monitor: - steal time: CPUs while the hypervisor was servicing another virtual processor - ping time - EBS performance Suggested thresholds: Not sure yet, but I will update after I have more data. Here's where I'm starting. - ping times above 75ms - steal consistently above 20% Reading http://www.igvita.com/2009/06/23/measuring-optimizing-io-performance they suggest: - await and svctime above 50ms - average queue size above 9 Actions to take: If steal time is consistently high, that means your instance is on a physical server that is likely over allocated. Create a new instance to hopefully move it to another phyical node.