9:26 AM- back up, increased RAM and CPUs available to VM.
9:43 AM - bringing up new kernel to rule out any kernel issues
9:48 AM - emergency maintenance window concluded. Will continue to monitor.
Update January 11, 10:23 AM - still seeing load surges, albeit at a less frequent rate. Further investigating...
1:45 PM - turned on process accounting to get a better snapshot if the problem continues to persist. Performance impact will be minimal.