Monday, April 13, 2009

SQL Interview Questions - Part 4

What is SQL server agent?

SQL Server agent plays an important role in the day-to-day tasks of a database administrator (DBA). It is often overlooked as one of the main tools for SQL Server management. Its purpose is to ease the implementation of tasks for the DBA, with its full-function scheduling engine, which allows you to schedule your own jobs and scripts.

Can a stored procedure call itself or recursive stored procedure? How many levels SP nesting possible?

Yes. Because Transact-SQL supports recursion, you can write stored procedures that call themselves. Recursion can be defined as a method of problem solving wherein the solution is arrived at by repetitively applying it to subsets of the problem. A common application of recursive logic is to perform numeric computations that lend themselves to repetitive evaluation by the same processing steps. Stored procedures are nested when one stored procedure calls another or executes managed code by referencing a CLR routine, type, or aggregate. You can nest stored procedures and managed code references up to 32 levels.

What is @@ERROR?

The @@ERROR automatic variable returns the error code of the last Transact-SQL statement. If there was no error, @@ERROR returns zero. Because @@ERROR is reset after each Transact-SQL statement, it must be saved to a variable if it is needed to process it further after checking it.

What is Raise error?

Stored procedures report errors to client applications via the RAISERROR command. RAISERROR doesn’t change the flow of a procedure; it merely displays an error message, sets the @@ERROR automatic variable, and optionally writes the message to the SQL Server error log and the NT application event log.


What is log shipping?

Log shipping is the process of automating the backup of database and transaction log files on a production SQL server, and then restoring them onto a standby server. Enterprise Editions only supports log shipping. In log shipping the transactional log file from one server is automatically updated into the backup database on the other server. If one server fails, the other server will have the same db can be used this as the Disaster Recovery plan. The key feature of log shipping is that is will automatically backup transaction logs throughout the day and automatically restore them on the standby server at defined interval.

What is the difference between a local and a global variable?

A local temporary table exists only for the duration of a connection or, if defined inside a compound statement, for the duration of the compound statement.

A global temporary table remains in the database permanently, but the rows exist only within a given connection. When connection is closed, the data in the global temporary table disappears. However, the table definition remains with the database for access when database is opened next time.

What are the different types of replication? Explain.

The SQL Server 2000-supported replication types are as follows:

* Transactional
* Snapshot
* Merge

Snapshot replication distributes data exactly as it appears at a specific moment in time and does not monitor for updates to the data. Snapshot replication is best used as a method for replicating data that changes infrequently or where the most up-to-date values (low latency) are not a requirement. When synchronization occurs, the entire snapshot is generated and sent to Subscribers.

Transactional replication, an initial snapshot of data is applied at Subscribers, and then when data modifications are made at the Publisher, the individual transactions are captured and propagated to Subscribers.

Merge replication is the process of distributing data from Publisher to Subscribers, allowing the Publisher and Subscribers to make updates while connected or disconnected, and then merging the updates between sites when they are connected.

What are the OS services that the SQL Server installation adds?

MS SQL SERVER SERVICE, SQL AGENT SERVICE, DTC (Distribution transac co-ordinator)

What are three SQL keywords used to change or set someone’s permissions?

GRANT, DENY, and REVOKE.

What does it mean to have quoted_identifier on? What are the implications of having it off?

When SET QUOTED_IDENTIFIER is ON, identifiers can be delimited by double quotation marks, and literals must be delimited by single quotation marks. When SET QUOTED_IDENTIFIER is OFF, identifiers cannot be quoted and must follow all Transact-SQL rules for identifiers.

What is the STUFF function and how does it differ from the REPLACE function?

STUFF function to overwrite existing characters. Using this syntax, STUFF(string_expression, start, length, replacement_characters), string_expression is the string that will have characters substituted, start is the starting position, length is the number of characters in the string that are substituted, and replacement_characters are the new characters interjected into the string.
REPLACE function to replace existing characters of all occurance. Using this syntax REPLACE(string_expression, search_string, replacement_string), where every incidence of search_string found in the string_expression will be replaced with replacement_string.


Using query analyzer, name 3 ways to get an accurate count of the number of records in a table?

SELECT * FROM table1
SELECT COUNT(*) FROM table1
SELECT rows FROM sysindexes WHERE id = OBJECT_ID(table1) AND indid < 2

How to rebuild Master Database?

Shutdown Microsoft SQL Server 2000, and then run Rebuildm.exe. This is located in the Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\80\Tools\Binn directory.
In the Rebuild Master dialog box, click Browse.
In the Browse for Folder dialog box, select the \Data folder on the SQL Server 2000 compact disc or in the shared network directory from which SQL Server 2000 was installed, and then click OK.
Click Settings. In the Collation Settings dialog box, verify or change settings used for the master database and all other databases.
Initially, the default collation settings are shown, but these may not match the collation selected during setup. You can select the same settings used during setup or select new collation settings. When done, click OK.
In the Rebuild Master dialog box, click Rebuild to start the process.
The Rebuild Master utility reinstalls the master database.
To continue, you may need to stop a server that is running.
Source: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa197950(SQL.80).aspx

What is the basic functions for master, msdb, model, tempdb databases?

The Master database holds information for all databases located on the SQL Server instance and is the glue that holds the engine together. Because SQL Server cannot start without a functioning master database, you must administer this database with care.
The msdb database stores information regarding database backups, SQL Agent information, DTS packages, SQL Server jobs, and some replication information such as for log shipping.
The tempdb holds temporary objects such as global and local temporary tables and stored procedures.
The model is essentially a template database used in the creation of any new user database created in the instance.



What are primary keys and foreign keys?

Primary keys are the unique identifiers for each row. They must contain unique values and cannot be null. Due to their importance in relational databases, Primary keys are the most fundamental of all keys and constraints. A table can have only one Primary key.
Foreign keys are both a method of ensuring data integrity and a manifestation of the relationship between tables.


To be continued...:)

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