rowan194 - 12:38 am on Jun 18, 2011 (gmt 0)
I ended up setting a pseudo-proxy so that requests from googlebot were transparently forwarded to another server with a copy of the same database. This removed the excessive load off the main server.
I noticed that currently Googlebot seems to have backed off a bit, but I think it would be premature to assume anything... the actual fetches per hour vary wildly, so it could still catch up (one hour it did 5822 fetches, or 1.6 per second!)
Does ANYONE know how I can get onto a human at google?