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Readwaiters is most closely related to the request queue backlog.
When a request is accepted by the Directory server, it is enqueued in the request queue. Then, as worker threads become available to service requests, the enqueued requests are dequeued by worker threads for processing. The request queue backlog is simply the number of requests in the queue, while readwaiters is the number of connections associated with one or more requests currently backlogged in the queue.
The combination will tell you, if your backlog is high, whether the enqueued requests are associated with more or fewer connected clients. In the case where you have set max threads per conn to something like 5, some requests may be backlogged due to your resource limits. Usually it's because the server is busy. It's possible that you need to make more threads available by increasing the threadnumber on the server configuration, but in my experience this has rarely helped. It's more likely that ACI processing or resource contention is causing the backlog.