SQL - Interesting Questions

1. 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.

2. Write a SQL Query to find first Week Day of month?
SELECT DATENAME(dw, DATEADD(dd, - DATEPART(dd, GETDATE()) + 1, GETDATE())) AS FirstDay

3. How to find 6th highest salary from Employee table
SELECT TOP 1 salary FROM (SELECT DISTINCT TOP 6 salary FROM employee
ORDER BY salary DESC) a ORDER BY salary

4. What is a join and List different types of joins.
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.

5. How can I enforce to use particular index?
You can use index hint (index=index_name) after the table name. SELECT au_lname FROM authors (index=aunmind)

6. What is sorting and what is the difference between sorting and clustered indexes?
The ORDER BY clause sorts query results by one or more columns up to 8,060 bytes. This will happen by the time when we retrieve data from database. Clustered indexes physically sorting data, while inserting/updating the table.

7. What are the differences between UNION and JOINS?
A join selects columns from 2 or more tables. A union selects rows.

8. What is the Referential Integrity?
Referential integrity refers to the consistency that must be maintained between primary and foreign keys, i.e. every foreign key value must have a corresponding primary key value

9. What is the row size in SQL Server 2000?
8060 bytes.

10. How to determine the service pack currently installed on SQL Server?
The global variable @@Version stores the build number of the sqlservr.exe, which is used to determine the service pack installed. eg: Microsoft SQL Server 2000 - 8.00.760 (Intel X86) Dec 17 2002 14:22:05 Copyright (c) 1988-2003 Microsoft Corporation Enterprise Edition on Windows NT 5.0 (Build 2195: Service Pack 3)

11. What is the purpose of UPDATE STATISTICS?
Updates information about the distribution of key values for one or more statistics groups (collections) in the specified table or indexed view.

12. What is the use of SCOPE_IDENTITY() function?
Returns the most recently created identity value for the tables in the current execution scope.

13. What are the different ways of moving data/databases between servers and databases in SQL Server?
There are lots of options available, you have to choose your option depending upon your requirements. Some of the options you have are: BACKUP/RESTORE, detaching and attaching databases, replication, DTS, BCP, logshipping, INSERT...SELECT, SELECT...INTO, creating INSERT scripts to generate data.

14. How do you transfer data from text file to database (other than DTS)?
Using the BCP (Bulk Copy Program) utility.

15. What's the difference between DELETE TABLE and TRUNCATE TABLE commands?
DELETE TABLE is a logged operation, so the deletion of each row gets logged in the transaction log, which makes it slow. TRUNCATE TABLE also deletes all the rows in a table, but it won't log the deletion of each row, instead it logs the deallocation of the data pages of the table, which makes it faster. Of course, TRUNCATE TABLE can be rolled back.

16. What is a deadlock?
Deadlock is a situation when two processes, each having a lock on one piece of data, attempt to acquire a lock on the other's piece. Each process would wait indefinitely for the other to release the lock, unless one of the user processes is terminated. SQL Server detects deadlocks and terminates one user's process.

17. What is a LiveLock?
livelock is one, where a request for an exclusive lock is repeatedly denied because a series of overlapping shared locks keeps interfering. SQL Server detects the situation after four denials and refuses further shared locks. A livelock also occurs when read transactions monopolize a table or page, forcing a write transaction to wait indefinitely.

18. How to restart SQL Server in single user mode?
From Startup Options :- Go to SQL Server Properties by right-clicking on the Server name in the Enterprise manager. Under the 'General' tab, click on 'Startup Parameters'. Enter a value of -m in the Parameter.

19. Does SQL Server 2000 clustering support load balancing?
SQL Server 2000 clustering does not provide load balancing; it provides failover support. To achieve load balancing, you need software that balances the load between clusters, not between servers within a cluster.

20. What is DTC?
The Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator (MS DTC) is a transaction manager that allows client applications to include several different sources of data in one transaction. MS DTC coordinates committing the distributed transaction across all the servers enlisted in the transaction.

21. What is DTS?
Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2000 Data Transformation Services (DTS) is a set of graphical tools and programmable objects that lets you extract, transform, and consolidate data from disparate sources into single or multiple destinations.

22. What are defaults? Is there a column to which a default can't be bound?
A default is a value that will be used by a column, if no value is supplied to that column while inserting data. IDENTITY columns and timestamp columns can't have defaults bound to them.

23. What are the constraints ?
Table Constraints define rules regarding the values allowed in columns and are the standard mechanism for enforcing integrity. SQL Server 2000 supports five classes of constraints. NOT NULL , CHECK, UNIQUE, PRIMARY KEY, FOREIGN KEY.

24. What is Transaction?
A transaction is a sequence of operations performed as a single logical unit of work. A logical unit of work must exhibit four properties, called the ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, and Durability) properties, to qualify as a transaction.

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