Erik Darling Joins Brent Ozar Unlimited

Kendra here– we’re really excited to announce that we’ve hired Erik Darling on to join our team as a consultant. Erik’s first day is today.

To introduce Erik, we’re sharing some of his answers to our call for job applications. We were so impressed, we knew we had to talk to him right away.Erik-Robot

What are your favorite things about your DBA job?

Getting a 10 production server/100tb of data environment configured to best practices and maintained and (WEEKLY) DBCC checked.

Migrating legacy apps to new VMs.

Helping the devs with in-house applications and reports (lots of code and index tuning).

Setting up Failover Clusters, install and config SQL.

Learning, learning, learning.

Being the only DBA.

What parts of the DBA job do you not enjoy?

Filling out paperwork, archiving to tape, being on call from 7am to midnight seven days a week, being the only DBA.

Tell us about a time you broke a production server.

So this one time I had to move a 5tb database to a near-line SATA LUN, and I was all like, “GUI? GU you! I’m gonna PoSH this ogre to icy hell.”

That’s when I found out that the Move-Item command basically eats like all the memory it can if you don’t have LPIM set up for SQL, and this dual 12, 512GB behemoth basically churned to a halt, couldn’t RDP, couldn’t VNC, nothing.

On the plus side, I could use PowerShell to kill the PowerShell process remotely.

After that I just restored a copy of the database to the new LUN and dropped the old one. That went a lot better.

Why would you be great at this job?

I like solving big problems. I like teaching people how to solve little problems. I once taught a developer who barely spoke English how to cross apply with a drawing. It may or may not have been a New Order album cover. I can talk about SQL all day. Most of it is right, too, especially if I think about it first. I am all self taught and have never had anyone senior to me, so I have plenty of straight up horribly grim determination to learn things and put them into practice.

What do you think will be the hardest part of this job for you?

Not sneaking onto Jeremiah’s Twitter account to change his name to Bodega Mayonnaise.

Brent says: I swear, we didn’t just hire him because of the tattoos. But I’m not going to say they weren’t a contributing factor.

Jeremiah says: I’m glad to have a co-worker who shares my appreciation of plaid, tattoos, and crazy T-SQL.

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37 Comments. Leave new

  • Congrats Erik..!!!

  • congratulations, sir! now hop in that champagne-colored sebring and take a well-earned spin. =)

    • Erik Darling
      March 20, 2015 3:23 pm


      I’m splurging on a dandelion Ford Freestyle. Is it a minivan? Is it an SUV? Is that a fold and go third row in your trunk or are you just happy to see me?

  • Justin Setliffe
    March 20, 2015 3:59 pm

    Congrats Erik!! Have they had THE TALK with you? You know, you get to be on call 6am-2am now and work every weekend…
    “Ummm, I’m gonna need you to go ahead come in tomorrow. So if you could be here around 9 that would be great, mmmk… oh oh! and I almost forgot ahh, I’m also gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Sunday too, kay”

  • Good luck Erik! Congrats 🙂

  • Congratulations Erik

  • Congr8s Erik!!!!

  • I made the same mistake, blew up a banks Sharepoint environment just by copying a big file. I then locked pages in memory, copied the file again and… blew it up again… Turns out I forgot to set max mem a bit lower. Windows panicked and killed a process to find some memory. It decided the TCP IP stack was a good choice. Found it later in the SQL Server Error Log, “SQL Server has stopped listening on port …”

    Congratulations to Erik and the rest of the team

    • Look into the unbuffered I/O option for robocopy or xcopy. Useful for any time you need to copy a file larger than the available RAM.

      • Kendra Little
        March 23, 2015 7:32 pm

        Does Robocopy finally have that? For years it was only an option in xcopy. I just looked at the technet page and I can’t identify which option it is? (I want to believe there’s a way!)

        Perhaps related– I couldn’t tell you how many times I hurt myself using the /mir option in Robocopy 🙂

  • Congrats on your new position.
    I would be very interested in seeing a reproduction of your “cross apply” drawing.
    All the Best,

    • Erik Darling
      March 24, 2015 3:44 pm

      I think I’m going to follow up with a post about the Cross Apply thing. Seems like a popular topic.

  • Lars Rasmussen
    March 21, 2015 12:21 pm

    I love the reference to New Order. But what is your favorite New Order song? Better be something off of Substance… not an easy choice. I’m going to vote for “Ceremony” – it still holds up pretty well.

    • Erik Darling
      March 21, 2015 4:10 pm

      Hah. I spent the last half of the 90s listening to Substance. Age of Consent, Your Silent Face, and 24 Hour Party people are classics to me that hold up well alongside anything off of Substance.

      • Not many NO fans around. Interesting to see the songs that are favorites of others. I would have spent the first half of the 90’s listening to Substance, and their other music, but then I guess I am aging myself…..

        Congratulations on the job. I’m sure you’ll enjoy!

      • you can always count on the NO/SQL crowd to hijack the thread =)

        for my part: i will never ever get tired of Regret (followed by World). Lonesome Tonight has my highest play count by far in recent weeks.

        • Another SQL Server DBA and New Order fan here also. Weird. 😉

          I wore out my Substance cassette tape, and then replaced it with the 2 CD version in the 90’s.

  • Congratulations Erik

  • Congrats, dude!

  • More tattoos? Brent team is getting even cooler. You will need to begin thinking to get harleys and hit the streets for a “new order” 😉 Congrats Erik

  • Manish Khatri
    March 21, 2015 11:18 pm

    Congratulation Erik 🙂 me too was so impressed after reading ur answers,,, good luck !

  • Congrats Erik! You and I met at a user group meeting a few months ago (the one that took place at a bar). I had mentioned during that meeting that I enjoy learning from Brent Ozar and you concurred… imagine my delight upon learning that you will be working with him now! I wish you all the best!

    • Erik Darling
      March 23, 2015 3:10 pm

      See? All the best user group meetings are in bars. If we were sitting in a classroom we never would have talked.

  • Condolences, err…ahh, congrats, Erik! You’ve managed to snag what many (including myself) would consider one of the coolest things you can do with a whole bunch of SQL Server Savvy. I’ve often wondered myself what it would be like working on a team like Brent’s, based on the delightfully unconventional and sometimes slightly irreverent banter I see on the blogs and YouTube videos! And it appears from your “interview” answers and a first-read of some of your comments here you’re going to be an excellent fit in that club! Hmmm, just wondering – was job 1 for the existing members of the team to have Kendra whip up a good caricature in your likeness? 🙂 Good luck!!

  • Would love to see the drawing of the CTE! I have such a tough time getting the concept in the brain. I do speak English, although the CEO might disagree with that!


  • For that memory error, yes, LPIM may help protect the SQL Server process, but the real problem can be solved by using the /J switch in either XCOPY or ROBOCOPY. This instructs it to use unbuffered I/O (unbuffered by the OS, that is). Even if you have a planned outage and the SQL Server process shut down, the normal, buffered file copying routine that is part of the Windows API will eventually run out of memory and fail when copying large files (in the hundreds of GB usually). If you’re on Windows 2008 or earlier, you might need to get a copy of a little program from I think the Exchange API called eseutil32.

  • GZ!!
    I look forward to leeching your knowledge! 😀

  • Congrats Erik!!!! I can’t wait to see all the new aspects you bring to BOU! I expect great things, but no pressure 😉

  • Anders Pedersen
    March 24, 2015 1:23 pm

    Congrats Erik.

    Man if I had known showing tattoos would have helped…. 😉

  • Congratulations Erik

  • Congratulations Erik.

  • Congrats! I had the pleasure to actually meet Erik in person at our SQL user group.

  • Kudos on your new oppportunity Erik!! Looking forward to your post on “cross apply”.

    Best reagrds,

  • Kudos on your new opportunity Erik. Looking forward to your post on “cross apply”.

    Best regards,