I’m certainly not an expert but this sounds like server side issues.
I came here hoping to find the answer to my install not sending activation emails. I get other wordpress emails but BP activation emails seem not to be working at all.
Regarding the error establishing DB connection, I was getting that on an underpowered server and had to set up a swap file to help the server cope.
I have been running 1.7 on the site I’m testing for weeks and it seems like it hasn’t been a problem for the whole life of 1.7 as some users are fine and other users haven’t been able to activate at a later date.
Unfortunately I don’t know how to find out any sort of timeline for when this broke.