Sunday, April 12, 2009

SQL Interview Questions - Part 2

What is a Linked Server?

Linked Servers is a concept in SQL Server by which we can add other SQL Server to a Group and query both the SQL Server dbs using T-SQL Statements. With a linked server, you can create very clean, easy to follow, SQL statements that allow remote data to be retrieved, joined and combined with local data.
Storped Procedure sp_addlinkedserver, sp_addlinkedsrvlogin will be used add new Linked Server.

What is Collation?

Collation refers to a set of rules that determine how data is sorted and compared. Character data is sorted using rules that define the correct character sequence, with options for specifying case-sensitivity, accent marks, kana character types and character width.

What are different types of Collation Sensitivity?

Case sensitivity
A and a, B and b, etc.

Accent sensitivity
a and á, o and ó, etc.

Kana Sensitivity
When Japanese kana characters Hiragana and Katakana are treated differently, it is called Kana sensitive.

Width sensitivity
when a single-byte character (half-width) and the same character when represented as a double-byte character (full-width) are treated differently then it is width sensitive.

What’s the difference between a primary key and a unique key?

Both primary key and unique enforce uniqueness of the column on which they are defined. But by default primary key creates a clustered index on the column, where are unique creates a nonclustered index by default. Another major difference is that, primary key doesn’t allow NULLs, but unique key allows one NULL only.

How to implement one-to-one, one-to-many and many-to-many relationships while designing tables?

One-to-One relationship can be implemented as a single table and rarely as two tables with primary and foreign key relationships.
One-to-Many relationships are implemented by splitting the data into two tables with primary key and foreign key relationships.
Many-to-Many relationships are implemented using a junction table with the keys from both the tables forming the composite primary key of the junction table.

What is a NOLOCK?

Using the NOLOCK query optimizer hint is generally considered good practice in order to improve concurrency on a busy system. When the NOLOCK hint is included in a SELECT statement, no locks are taken when data is read. The result is a Dirty Read, which means that another process could be updating the data at the exact time you are reading it. There are no guarantees that your query will retrieve the most recent data. The advantage to performance is that your reading of data will not block updates from taking place, and updates will not block your reading of data. SELECT statements take Shared (Read) locks. This means that multiple SELECT statements are allowed simultaneous access, but other processes are blocked from modifying the data. The updates will queue until all the reads have completed, and reads requested after the update will wait for the updates to complete. The result to your system is delay (blocking).

What is difference between DELETE & TRUNCATE commands?

Delete command removes the rows from a table based on the condition that we provide with a WHERE clause. Truncate will actually remove all the rows from a table and there will be no data in the table after we run the truncate command.

TRUNCATE
TRUNCATE is faster and uses fewer system and transaction log resources than DELETE.
TRUNCATE removes the data by deallocating the data pages used to store the table’s data, and only the page deallocations are recorded in the transaction log.
TRUNCATE removes all rows from a table, but the table structure and its columns, constraints, indexes and so on remain. The counter used by an identity for new rows is reset to the seed for the column.
You cannot use TRUNCATE TABLE on a table referenced by a FOREIGN KEY constraint.
Because TRUNCATE TABLE is not logged, it cannot activate a trigger.
TRUNCATE can not be Rolled back.
TRUNCATE is DDL Command.
TRUNCATE Resets identity of the table.

DELETE
DELETE removes rows one at a time and records an entry in the transaction log for each deleted row.
If you want to retain the identity counter, use DELETE instead. If you want to remove table definition and its data, use the DROP TABLE statement.
DELETE Can be used with or without a WHERE clause
DELETE Activates Triggers.
DELETE can be rolled back.
DELETE is DML Command.
DELETE does not reset identity of the tabl.

Difference between Function and Stored Procedure?

UDF can be used in the SQL statements anywhere in the WHERE/HAVING/SELECT section where as Stored procedures cannot be.
UDFs that return tables can be treated as another rowset. This can be used in JOINs with other tables.
Inline UDF’s can be though of as views that take parameters and can be used in JOINs and other Rowset operations.

When is the use of UPDATE_STATISTICS command?

This command is basically used when a large processing of data has occurred. If a large amount of deletions any modification or Bulk Copy into the tables has occurred, it has to update the indexes to take these changes into account. UPDATE_STATISTICS updates the indexes on these tables accordingly.

What types of Joins are possible with Sql Server?

Joins are used in queries to explain how different tables are related. Joins also let you select data from a table depending upon data from another table.
Types of joins: INNER JOINs, OUTER JOINs, CROSS JOINs. OUTER JOINs are further classified as LEFT OUTER JOINS, RIGHT OUTER JOINS and FULL OUTER JOINS.

What is the difference between a HAVING CLAUSE and a WHERE CLAUSE?

Specifies a search condition for a group or an aggregate. HAVING can be used only with the SELECT statement. HAVING is typically used in a GROUP BY clause. When GROUP BY is not used, HAVING behaves like a WHERE clause. Having Clause is basically used only with the GROUP BY function in a query. WHERE Clause is applied to each row before they are part of the GROUP BY function in a query. HAVING criteria is applied after the grouping of rows has occurred.


To be continued...:)

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