Top 50 Sql Server 2008 Interview Questions You Must Prepare 29.Nov.2023

A PRIMARY KEY constraint is a unique identifier for a row within a database table. Every table should have a primary key constraint to uniquely identify each row and only one primary key constraint can be created for each table. The primary key constraints are used to enforce entity integrity.

A CHECK constraint is used to limit the values that can be placed in a column. The check constraints are used to enforce domain integrity.

SQL Server can be linked to any server provided it has OLE-DB provider from Microsoft to allow a link. E.g. Oracle has an OLE-DB provider for oracle that Microsoft provides to add it as linked server to SQL Server group.

Identity (or AutoNumber) is a column that automatically generates numeric values. A start and increment value can be set, but most DBA leave these at @A GUID column also generates numbers; the value of this cannot be controlled. Identity/GUID columns do not need to be indexed.

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.

There are multiple ways to do this.
This method is used when table is already created in the database earlier and data is to be inserted into this table from another table. If columns listed in insert clause and select clause are same, they are not required to list them.
This method is used when table is not created earlier and needs to be created when data from one table is to be inserted into newly created table from another table. New table is created with same data types as selected columns.

STUFF function is used 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 occurrences. Using the 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.

Transactions specify an isolation level that defines the degree to which one transaction must be isolated from resource or data modifications made by other transactions. Isolation levels are described in terms of which concurrency side-effects, such as dirty reads or phantom reads, are allowed.

Transaction isolation levels control:
• Whether locks are taken when data is read, and what type of locks are requested.
• How long the read locks are held.
• Whether a read operation referencing rows modified by another transaction:
• Blocks until the exclusive lock on the row is freed.
• Retrieves the committed version of the row that existed at the time the statement or transaction started.
• Reads the uncommitted data modification.

• Using CTE improves the readability and makes maintenance of complex queries easy.
• The query can be divided into separate, simple, logical building blocks which can be then used to build more complex CTEs until final result set is generated.
• CTE can be defined in functions, stored procedures, triggers or even views.
• After a CTE is defined, it can be used as a Table or a View and can SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE or DELETE Data.

ROW_NUMBER() returns a column as an expression that contains the row’s number within the result set. This is only a number used in the context of the result set, if the result changes, the ROW_NUMBER() will change.

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 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, its columns, constraints, indexes and so on, remains. 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 cannot be rolled back.
• TRUNCATE is DDL Command.
• TRUNCATE Resets identity of the table

• 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 table.

BulkCopy is a tool used to copy huge amount of data from tables and views. BCP does not copy the structures same as source to destination. BULK INSERT command helps to import a data file into a database table or view in a user-specified format.

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 and can be used this as the Disaster Recovery plan. The key feature of log shipping is that it will automatically backup transaction logs throughout the day and automatically restore them on the standby server at defined interval.

Master database is system database and it contains information about running server’s configuration. When SQL Server 2005 is installed it usually creates master, model, msdb, tempdb resource and distribution system database by default. Only Master database is the one which is absolutely must have database. Without Master database SQL Server cannot be started. This is the reason it is extremely important to backup Master database.

To rebuild the Master database, Run Setup.exe, verify, and repair a SQL Server instance, and rebuild the system databases. This procedure is most often used to rebuild the master database for a corrupted installation of SQL Server.

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.

Filtered Index is used to index a portion of rows in a table that means it applies filter on INDEX which improves query performance, reduce index maintenance costs, and reduce index storage costs compared with full-table indexes. When we see an Index created with some where clause then that is actually a FILTERED INDEX.

A UNIQUE constraint enforces the uniqueness of the values in a set of columns, so no duplicate values are entered. The unique key constraints are used to enforce entity integrity as the primary key constraints.

The master database holds information for all databases located on the SQL Server instance and is theglue that holds the engine together. Because SQL Server cannot start without a functioning masterdatabase, 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.
The resoure Database is a read-only database that contains all the system objects that are included with SQL Server. SQL Server system objects, such as sys.objects, are physically persisted in the Resource database, but they logically appear in the sys schema of every database. The Resource database does not contain user data or user metadata.

An index is a physical structure containing pointers to the data. Indices are created in an existing table to locate rows more quickly and efficiently. It is possible to create an index on one or more columns of a table, and each index is given a name. The users cannot see the indexes; they are just used to speed up queries. Effective indexes are one of the best ways to improve performance in a database application. A table scan happens when there is no index available to help a query. In a table scan SQL Server examines every row in the table to satisfy the query results. Table scans are sometimes unavoidable, but on large tables, scans have a terrific impact on performance.

A Pivot Table can automatically sort, count, and total the data stored in one table or spreadsheet and create a second table displaying the summarized data. The PIVOT operator turns the values of a specified column into column names, effectively rotating a table.
UNPIVOT table is reverse of PIVOT Table.

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.

  Run  following query in Query Editor.
USE <database_name>;
SELECT SCHEMA_NAME(schema_id) AS schema_name
,name AS table_name
FROM sys.tables
ORDER BY schema_name, table_name;

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.

A trigger is a SQL procedure that initiates an action when an event (INSERT, DELETE or UPDATE) occurs. Triggers are stored in and managed by the DBMS. Triggers are used to maintain the referential integrity of data by changing the data in a systematic fashion. A trigger cannot be called or executed; DBMS automatically fires the trigger as a result of a data modification to the associated table. Triggers can be viewed as similar to stored procedures in that both consist of procedural logic that is stored at the database level. Stored procedures, however, are not event-drive and are not attached to a specific table as triggers are Stored procedures are explicitly executed by invoking a CALL to the procedure while triggers are implicitly executed. In addition, triggers can also execute stored procedures.

Nested Trigger: A trigger can also contain INSERT, UPDATE and DELETE logic within itself, so when the trigger is fired because of data modification it can also cause another data modification, thereby firing another trigger. A trigger that contains data modification logic within itself is called a nested trigger.

An execution plan is basically a road map that graphically or textually shows the data retrieval methods chosen by the SQL Server query optimizer for a stored procedure or ad-hoc query and is a very useful tool for a developer to understand the performance characteristics of a query or stored procedure since the plan is the one that SQL Server will place in its cache and use to execute the stored procedure or query. From within Query Analyzer is an option called “Show Execution Plan” (located on the Query drop-down menu). If this option is turned on it will display query execution plan in separate window when query is ran again.

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

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. Stored Procedure sp_addlinkedserver, sp_addlinkedsrvlogin will be used add new Linked Server.

Filestream allows you to store large objects in the file system and have these files integrated within the database. It enables SQL Server based applications to store unstructured data such as documents, images, audios, videos etc. in the file system. FILESTREAM basically integrates the SQL Server Database Engine with New Technology File System (NTFS); it basically stores the data in varbinary (max) data type. Using this data type, the unstructured data is stored in the NTFS file system and the SQL Server Database Engine manages the link between the Filestream column and the actual file located in the NTFS. Using Transact SQL statements users can insert, update, delete and select the data stored in FILESTREAM enabled tables.

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, character types and character width.

Yes we can write using Common Table Expression (CTE). A Common Table Expression (CTE) is an expression that can be thought of as a temporary result set which is defined within the execution of a single SQL statement. A CTE is similar to a derived table in that it is not stored as an object and lasts only for the duration of the query.


  USE AdventureWorks
WITH EmployeeDepartment_CTE AS (
SELECT EmployeeID,DepartmentID,ShiftID
FROM HumanResources.EmployeeDepartmentHistory
SELECT ecte.EmployeeId,ed.DepartmentID, ed.Name,ecte.ShiftID
FROM HumanResources.Department ed
INNER JOIN EmployeeDepartment_CTE ecte ON ecte.DepartmentID =ed.DepartmentID


XPath uses a set of expressions to select nodes to be processed. The most common expression that you’ll use is the location path expression, which returns back a set of nodes called a node set. XPath can use both an unabbreviated and an abbreviated syntax. The following is the unabbreviated syntax for a location path:

CTE is an abbreviation Common Table Expression. A Common Table Expression (CTE) is an expression that can be thought of as a temporary result set which is defined within the execution of a single SQL statement. A CTE is similar to a derived table in that it is not stored as an object and lasts only for the duration of the query.

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).

Cursor is a database object used by applications to manipulate data in a set on a row-by-row basis, instead of the typical SQL commands that operate on all the rows in the set at one time.

In order to work with a cursor we need to perform some steps in the following order:
• Declare cursor
• Open cursor
• Fetch row from the cursor
• Process fetched row
• Close cursor
• Deallocate cursor

Windows mode and Mixed Mode – SQL & Windows.
To change authentication mode in SQL Server click Start, Programs, Microsoft SQL Server and click SQL Enterprise Manager to run SQL Enterprise Manager from the Microsoft SQL Server program group. Select the server then from the Tools menu select SQL Server Configuration Properties, and choose the Security page.

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.

A clustered index is a special type of index that reorders the way records in the table are physically stored. Therefore table can have only one clustered index. The leaf nodes of a clustered index contain the data pages.

A non clustered index is a special type of index in which the logical order of the index does not match the physical stored order of the rows on disk. The leaf node of a non clustered index does not consist of the data pages. Instead, the leaf nodes contain index rows.

A NOT NULL constraint enforces that the column will not accept null values. The not null constraints are used to enforce domain integrity, as the check constraints.

SQL Server runs on port 143@It can be changed from the Network Utility TCP/IP properties -> Port number, both on client and the server.

Policy Management in SQL SERVER 2008 allows you to define and enforce policies for configuring and managing SQL Server across the enterprise. Policy-Based Management is configured in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). Navigate to the Object Explorer and expand the Management node and the Policy Management node; you will see the Policies, Conditions, and Facets nodes.

The xml data type lets you store XML documents and fragments in a SQL Server database. An XML fragment is an XML instance that is missing a single top-level element. You can create columns and variables of the xml type and store XML instances in them. The xml data type and associated methods help integrate XML into the relational framework of SQL Server.

• Stored procedure can reduced network traffic and latency, boosting application performance.
• Stored procedure execution plans can be reused, staying cached in SQL Server’s memory, reducing server overhead.
• Stored procedures help promote code reuse.
• Stored procedures can encapsulate logic. You can change stored procedure code without affecting clients.
• Stored procedures provide better security to your data.

Synonyms give you the ability to provide alternate names for database objects. You can alias object names; for example, using the Employee table as Emp. You can also shorten names. This is especially useful when dealing with three and four part names; for example, shortening server.database.owner.object to object.

The database server uses a B-tree structure to organize index information. B-Tree generally has following types of index pages or nodes:
• root node: A root node contains node pointers to branch nodes which can be only one.
• branch nodes: A branch node contains pointers to leaf nodes or other branch nodes which can be two or more.
• leaf nodes: A leaf node contains index items and horizontal pointers to other leaf nodes which can be many.

Properties of Sub-Query
• A sub-query must be enclosed in the parenthesis.
• A sub-query must be put in the right hand of the comparison operator, and
• A sub-query cannot contain an ORDER-BY clause.
• A query can contain more than one sub-query.

Types of Sub-query
• Single-row sub-query, where the sub-query returns only one row.
• Multiple-row sub-query, where the sub-query returns multiple rows, and
• Multiple column sub-query, where the sub-query returns multiple columns

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.

SQL Profiler is a graphical tool that allows system administrators to monitor events in an instance of Microsoft SQL Server. You can capture and save data about each event to a file or SQL Server table to analyze later. For example, you can monitor a production environment to see which stored procedures are hampering performances by executing too slowly.

Use SQL Profiler to monitor only the events in which you are interested. If traces are becoming too large, you can filter them based on the information you want, so that only a subset of the event data is collected. Monitoring too many events adds overhead to the server and the monitoring process and can cause the trace file or trace table to grow very large, especially when the monitoring process takes place over a long period of time.

A sparse column is another tool used to reduce the amount of physical storage used in a database. They are the ordinary columns that have an optimized storage for null values. Sparse columns reduce the space requirements for null values at the cost of more overhead to retrieve nonnull values.

The GEOMETRY Type: The GEOMETRY data type is a system .NET common language runtime (CLR) data type in SQL Server. This type represents data in a two-dimensional Euclidean coordinate system.
The GEOGRAPHY Type: The GEOGRAPHY datatype’s functions are the same as with GEOMETRY. The difference between the two is that when you specify GEOGRAPHY, you are usually specifying points in terms of latitude and longitude.
New Date and Time Datatypes: SQL Server 2008 introduces four new datatypes related to date and time: DATE, TIME, DATETIMEOFFSET, and DATETIME2.

  • DATE: The new DATE type just stores the date itself. It is based on the Gregorian calendar and handles years from 1 to 999@
  • TIME: The new TIME (n) type stores time with a range of 00:00:00.0000000 through 23:59:59.999999@The precision is allowed with this type. TIME supports seconds down to 100 nanoseconds. The nin TIME (n) defines this level of fractional second precision, from 0 to 7 digits of precision.
  • The DATETIMEOFFSET Type: DATETIMEOFFSET (n) is the time-zone-aware version of a datetime datatype. The name will appear less odd when you consider what it really is: a date + a time + a time-zone offset. The offset is based on how far behind or ahead you are from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) time.
  • The DATETIME2 Type: It is an extension of the datetime type in earlier versions of SQL Server. This new datatype has a date range covering dates from January 1 of year 1 through December 31 of year 999@This is a definite improvement over the 1753 lower boundary of the datetime datatype. DATETIME2 not only includes the larger date range, but also has a timestamp and the same fractional precision that TIME type provides

Unindexed table or Heap. Microsoft Press Books and Book on Line (BOL) refers it as Heap. A heap is a table that does not have a clustered index and, therefore, the pages are not linked by pointers. The IAM pages are the only structures that link the pages in a table together. Unindexed tables are good for fast storing of data. Many times it is better to drop all indexes from table and then do bulk of inserts and to restore those indexes after that.