Junior SQL Server DBA Interview Questions

Written by Administrator Thursday, 11 December 2008 14:11 -

Written By:  Edgewood Solutions Engineers  -- 11/13/2008
Problem My organization is in the process of hiring a junior SQL Server DBA to add to our team.  What are some fair questions to ask as a portion of the interview process?  I want to make sure we hire someone who has a good base of knowledge.  I am concerned are Senior SQL Server DBAs are looking to stump the candidates which is not really my goal.  Do you have any suggestions?

Solution Trying to assess any technical person's skill set can be difficult.  An interview process with appropriate questions for your environment and the correct skill set are key.  In some respects understanding what a candidate knows and does not know could be equally beneficial.  What is meant by that is you want to know what knowledge someone has on day one and what you will need to teach them overtime.  As such, here are a baseline set of questions for a junior SQL Server DBA:

Backup and Recovery - Question 1 - What are 2 options to validate whether or not a backup will restore successfully? - Restore the backup as a portion of a testing process or log shipping. - Restore the backup with the Verify Only option. - Additional information -  Verifying Backups with the RESTORE VERIFYONLY Statement

- Question 2 - How can you issue a full backup and not interrupt the LSN's? - Issue a copy only backup. - Additional information -  COPY_ONLY Backups with SQL Server 2005

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11 December 2008 14:11 - Performance Tuning . Performance data provides information on the server's utilization of the processor.Junior SQL Server DBA Interview Questions Written by Administrator Thursday. .Perfmon is responsible for macro level metrics related to processes and sub systems. provide a simple means to capture basic metrics related to locking.Additional information -  SQL Server Command Line Tools To Manage Your Server . login.System objects such as sp_who2.As part of the installation of SQL Server 2005 a number of performance-related reports are installed. time needed. etc.How do you go about tuning a SQL Server query? 2/6 .EXE is a command line tool included with the Windows operating system that writes performance data to the command window or to a file.Additional information -  Dynamic Management Views and Functions in SQL Server 2005 . .Name as many native SQL Server performance monitoring and tuning tools that you know of and their associated value.Profiler . sp_lock.New to SQL Server 2005. .EXE .Question 2 .Additional information -  Built-In Performance Reports in SQL Server 2005 . host name. application name.SQL Server Management Studio Built-in Performance Reports . and disk. Profiler provides the lowest common denominator of activity on a SQL Server instance.Perfmon . blocking. memory.System objects . CPU usage.EXE . in order to assess the IO.In a nutshell.Question 1 . . etc.TYPEPERF.  Profiler captures per session code with the ability to filter the data collection based on database. . etc. . fn_get_sql. executing code.Additional information -  SQL Server Performance Statistics Using a Server Side Trace .TYPEPERF. as well as SQL Server-specific performance data. If you don't have an instance of Reporting Services installed then the icon will be disabled.Additional information -  How To Collect Performance Data With TYPEPERF. etc. To get to these reports open the SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) and connect to a SQL Server 2005 instance.Dynamic Management Views and Functions .Additional information -  Free Microsoft Tools to Help Setup and Maintain PerfMon . It is necessary to capture performance data whenever you are trying to diagnose performance issues on a server. . the Dynamic Management Views and Functions offer a real time view into the SQL Server sub systems.

If the indexname is left out then all indexes are rebuilt.Identify the query causing the issue. changing the JOIN order.Review the query plan by issuing SHOWPLAN_TEXT.DBCC CACHESTATS .Additional information -  Query Plans in SQL Server 2000 vs SQL Server 2005 Maintenance Question 1 .Test the options to determine the associated performance improvement. .Name 3 or more DBCC commands and their associated purpose.DBCC CHECKDB . . Information provided includes number of pages used as well as 3/6 . . . SHOWPLAN_ALL.DBCC SHOWCONTIG .dm_exec_query_stats.Implement the solution.DBCC DBREINDEX . Graphical Query Plan or sys.What are the three options in SQL Server 2005 to rebuild indexes? CREATE INDEX with DROP_EXISTING DROP INDEX and CREATE INDEX ALTER INDEX Additional information -  Index Rebuilds in SQL Server 2000 vs SQL Server 2005 . . .DBCC MEMORYSTATUS . .Displays information about the objects currently in the buffer cache.Review the individual query components to determine which components of the query have the highest cost.Junior SQL Server DBA Interview Questions Written by Administrator Thursday. Spotlight will also show you this same information. removing indexes.This command will show you information about the procedure cache and how much is being used. .Outline options to improve the query such as moving from cursor based logic to set based logic or vice versa. .This will check the allocation of all pages in the database as well as check for any integrity issues.DBCC CHECKTABLE . 11 December 2008 14:11 - .This command gives you information about how much space is used for a table and indexes.This will check the allocation of all pages for a specific table or index as well as check for any integrity issues.This command will reindex your table. If the fillfactor is set to 0 then this will use the original fillfactor when the table was created. etc. adding indexes. creating covering indexes. .DBCC PROCCACHE . . WHERE clause or ORDER BY clause.Displays how the SQL Server buffer cache is divided up.Question 2 . including buffer activity. . .

.DBCC SHRINKFILE . .Question 2 .Tmp_Test1 is renamed to dbo. .This command will turn on a trace flag to capture events in the error log.DBCC TRACEOFF . . .Tmp_Test1 with the new structure.This will allow you to shrink one of the database files. . can be included as a non-key column. .Junior SQL Server DBA Interview Questions Written by Administrator Thursday. Trace Flag 1204 captures Deadlock information. .Test1) in Management Studio? .Test1 this data is inserted into the new temp table dbo.Test1 is dropped. 11 December 2008 14:11 - how fragmented the data is in the database. are not counted in the number of columns by the Database Engine.What happens when you add a column in the middle of a table (dbo.A new type of index was developed in SQL Server 2005 that assists in covering queries: Indexes With Included Columns.DBCC SHOW_STATISTICS .Additional information -  SQL Server Command Line Tools To Manage Your Server Database Design .Columns defined in the include statement.DBCC TRACEON .A maximum of 1023 additional columns can be used as non-key columns.Question 1 . Use the sp_helpdb command along with the database name to see the actual file names used. This is equivalent to doing a database shrink. but you can specify what file and the size to shrink it to.Management Studio creates a temporary table called dbo.If there is data in the original table dbo.Additional information -  Modifying SQL Server database tables and keeping like columns together . .DBCC SQLPERF . . Indexes with Included Columns are nonclustered indexes that have the following benefits: . . . like nvarchar(max).This command will show you much of the transaction logs are being used.The original table dbo.The new table dbo.This will show how statistics are laid out for an index.This command turns off a trace flag.Columns that previously could not be used in queries. called non-key columns.Tmp_Test1 (now you have two sets of the same data). . You can see how distributed the data is and whether the index is really a good candidate or not.If the table has indexes all of the indexes are recreated.Test1. 4/6 .What are included columns with respect to SQL Server indexing? .

SSIS checkpoints.Junior SQL Server DBA Interview Questions Written by Administrator Thursday. Additional information -  SQL Server Integration Services . SSIS batch processing. SSIS logging.To the interviewers: .Be prepared for your technical interviews. but more often than not. then create a SQL Server Agent Job to perform the task on a daily basis.As you prepare for a junior level SQL Server interview.To the interviewees: .  The questions in this tip are intended for a newbie SQL Server DBA. Dynamic flat file connections. 11 December 2008 14:11 - . .How do you backup Analysis Services databases? . .Create the XML statement to backup the Analysis Services databases.Question 2 .Additional information -  Improve Performance with SQL Server 2005 Covering Index Enhancements SQL Server Business Intelligence Question 1 . . you will get some very challenging questions 5/6 .Name some new features from DTS to SSIS.Additional information -  Automating Backups for SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services Databases Next Steps . be sure to have appropriate questions in place to challenge the candidate and understand their skill level on any given topic. MERGE JOIN. SSIS Breakpoint.Be sure to ask questions to understand the depth and breadth of the candidates knowledge base. SSIS package configurations.

6/6 . so think quickly and be sure to prepare a response to questions you simple do not know the answer to.Junior SQL Server DBA Interview Questions Written by Administrator Thursday.  Many of these situations and questions will probably not be familiar to you. 11 December 2008 14:11 - and scenarios from interviewers.

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