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In response for a reader of this blog who asked me for some interview questions for a 3+Year experienced DBA

, I have written this series of questions that you can use in your interviews. Either if you are the interviewer, or the interviewer. Enjoy! 1. Basic (Every DBA should answer correctly ALL these questions. This knowledge is just basic for a 3+ year experienced DBA) 1.1 Q- Which are the default passwords of SYSTEM/SYS? A- MANAGER / CHANGE_ON_INSTALL 1.2 Q- How can you execute a script file in SQLPLUS? A- To execute a script file in SQLPlus, type @ and then the file name. 1.3 Q- Where can you find official Oracle documentation? A- tahiti.oracle.com 1.4 Q- What is the address of the Official Oracle Support? A- metalink.oracle.com or support.oracle.com 1.5 Q- What file will you use to establish Oracle connections from a remote client? A- tnsnames.ora 1.6 Q- How can you check if the database is accepting connections? A- lsnrctl status or lsnrctl services 1.7 Q- Which log would you check if a database has a problem? A- Alert log 1.8 Q- Name three clients to connect with Oracle, for example, SQL Developer: A- SQL Developer, SQL-Plus, TOAD, dbvisualizer, PL/SQL Developer« There are several, but an experienced dba should know at least three clients. 1.9 Q- How can you check the structure of a table from sqlplus? A- DESCRIBE or DESC 1.10 Q- What command will you start to run the installation of Oracle software on Linux? A- runInstaller 2. Moderate (Standard knoledge for a daily-work of every DBA. He could fail one or two questions, but not more) 2.1 Q- What should you do if you encounter an ORA-600? A- Contact Oracle Support 2.2 Q- Explain the differences between PFILE and SPFILE A- A PFILE is a Static, text file that initialices the database parameter in the moment that it¶s started. If you want to modify parameters in PFILE, you have to restart the database. A SPFILE is a dynamic, binary file that allows you to overwrite parameters while the database is already started (with some exceptions) 2.3 Q- In which Oracle version was Data Pump introduced? A- Oracle 10g 2.4 Q- Say two examples of DML, two of DCL and two of DDL A- DML: SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE, MERGE, CALL, EXPLAIN PLAN, LOCK TABLE DDL: CREATE, ALTER, DROP, TRUNCATE, COMMENT, RENAME DCL: GRANT, REVOKE 2.5 Q- You want to save the output of an Oracle script from sqlplus. How would you do it? A- spool script_name.txt select * from your_oracle_operations; spool off; 2.6 Q- What is the most important requirement in order to use RMAN to make consistent hot backups?

6 Q.4 Q.Is it possible to backup your database without the use of an RMAN database to store the catalog? A.How can you view all the current users connected in your database in this moment? A.crs_stat -t -v (-t -v are optional) 4. 4. but the catalog would be stored in the controlfile. but can lead to database corruption.Yes. A materialized view stores the result of this query in memory for faster access purposes.1 Q. without allowing new connections.PMON 3. 3.How can you reduce the space of TEMP datafile? A. you can. depending on the work he has done.Which are the main components of Oracle Grid Control? A. what Oracle background process will clean after it? A.SELECT COUNT(*). 3. 2.Yes.8 Q.When a user process fails.What is the difference between a view and a materialized view? A.7 Q.10 Q.USERNAME FROM V$SESSION GROUP BY USERNAME.1 Q.What command would you use to check the availability of the RAC system? A.Can you connect to a local database without a listener? A.9 Q.3 Q.How can you view all the users account in the database? A.asmcmd 3. OMS (Oracle Management Server) and OMA (Oracle Management Agent).Explain the differences between SHUTDOWN.3 Q.What is the recommended method to make backups of a RAC environment? A.Only since Oracle 11g.A. 3. 2.Your database has to be in ARCHIVELOG mode.SELECT USERNAME FROM DBA_USERS.2 Q.TRUNCATE 3.What is the minimum number of instances you need to have in order to create a RAC? .8 Q.10 Q. 3. dd to backup your voting disk and hard copies of the OCR file.In linux. 3. how can we change which databases are started during a reboot? A.Edit /etc/oratab 3. SHUTDOWN IMMEDIATE : Rollback current transactions and terminates every session. you had to recreate the datafile. and you can shrink the TEMP tablespace. SHUTDOWN ABORT : Aborts all the sessions.A view is a select that is executed each time an user accesses to it.Which one is faster: DELETE or TRUNCATE? A.What command will you use to navigate through ASM files? A. with varied difficultied questions) 4.SHUTOWN NORMAL = SHUTDOWN : It waits for all sessions to end. 2.9 Q. SHUTDOWN IMMEDIATE AND SHUTDOWN ABORT A. 4. RAC (Only intended for RAC-specific DBAs. leaving the database in an inconsistent state.RMAN to make backups of the database.Are passwords in oracle case sensitive? A. In Oracle 11g a new feature was introduced.2 Q.7 Q.OMR (Oracle Management Repository).Prior to Oracle 11g.DICT or DICTIONARY 2. he could still fail up to 4 questions) 3.5 Q. It¶s the fastest method. SHUTDOWN NORMAL. 3. However. Advanced (A 3+ year experienced DBA should have enough knowledge to answer these questions.In which view can you find information about every view and table of oracle dictionary? A.

Can you have many database versions in the same RAC? A.8 Q.How many alert logs exist in a RAC environment? A. LMDx. Be glad if he¶s able to answer some of them) 5.What is BBED? A. at least with any Oracle tool.What RAC component is used for communication between instances? A. LMSn.What parameter will you use to force the starting of your database with a corrupted resetlog? . 5.Explain Oracle memory structure The Oracle RDBMS creates and uses storage on the computer hard disk and in random access memory (RAM). 5.9 Q.4 Q.2 Q. The SGA is the memory segment that stores data that the user has retrieved from the database or data that the user wants to place into the database. 4.Yes. he will still be able to lock a certain table. 4.5 Q. 5.Name two specific RAC background processes A.The result of the logical comparison (NULL = NULL) will be« And in the case of (NULL != NULL) A. start«) RAC services in command-line mode? A.What Oracle tool will you use to transform datafiles into text files? A. You can create a RAC with just one server.RAC processes are: LMON.9 Q. but Clusterware version must be greater than the greater database version. 5. For example.Which command will we use to manage (stop.6 Q.How can you difference a usual parameter and an undocumented parameter? A.MY_TABLE. 5.He won¶t be able to UPDATE/INSERT into that table. For example. 4. The portion in the computer s RAM is called memory structure.Will a user be able to modify a table with SELECT only privilege? A.SQL> SELECT * FROM MY_SCHEMA. but for some reason.What is the difference between normal views and RAC views? A.The table has a BLOB column.Will RMAN take backups of read-only tablespaces? A.3 Q.No 5.One for each instance. LKCx and DIAG.8 Q. SP2-0678: Column or attribute type can not be displayed by SQL*Plus Why I¶m getting this error? A.An undocumented Oracle tool used for foresnic purposes. The two structures are the Program Global Area (PGA) and the System Global Area (SGA).1 Q. 5.srvctl 4.False in both cases.1.7 Q.Trick question: you can¶t do that.What was RAC previous name before it was called RAC? A. The PGA contains data and control information for a single user process.OPS: Oracle Parallel Server 4. 4.7 Q. Master (A 3+ year experienced DBA would probably fail these questions.10 Q.Private Interconnect. GV$SESSION instead of V$SESSION 4. 5. Stans for Block Browser and EDitor. A very experienced DBA should perfectly know this.RAC views has the prefix µG¶.4 Q. Oracle has two memory structures in the computer s RAM. they are very specifid and specially difficult.A.5 Q. _allow_resetlogs_corruption 5.6 Q.Undocumented parameters have the prefix µ_¶.

3. the answers I am giving here are off the cuff and are not intended to be the definitive answer to these questions. You have just had to restore from backup and do not have any control files. 2. Index Organized Tables. In addition. stipulating where on disk all the data files where and then issue the recover command with the using backup control file clause. Index Clustered Tables. Also. The benefit of taking a hot backup is that the database is still available for use while the backup is occurring and you can recover the database to any point in time. It is up to you to make sure your interviewer understands that you understand the question and have given enough information that they know you understand the concept. Global Temporary Tables. Please if you have just skipped to this section. . These groupings of contiguous data blocks are called extents. 4. A hot backup is basically taking a backup of the database while it is still up and running and it must be in archive log mode. All the extents that an object takes when grouped together are considered the segment of the database object.ora file to a spfile? Issue the create spfile from pfile command. The benefit of taking a cold backup is that it is typically easier to administer the backup and recovery process. Explain the difference between a hot backup and a cold backup and the benefits associated with each.Name the seven types of Oracle tables A. Object Tables.Heap Organized Tables. A data block is the smallest unit of logical storage for a database object.10 Q._ALLOW_RESETLOGS_CORRUPTION 5.A. 1. How do you switch from an init. Hash Clustered Tables. A cold backup is taking a backup of the database while it is shut down and does not require being in archive log mode. There are many aspects to these questions that just cannot be answered here and honestly. Technical oracle part 1 This is the part you have all been waiting on. Explain the difference between a data block. you will not have time to explain any of these questions fully in the interview process. There is much to be gained by the personal section and conveying to your interviewer who you are and how you tick from day to day. How would you go about bringing up this database? I would create a text based backup control file. since you are taking cold backups the database does not require being in archive log mode and thus there will be a slight performance gain as the database is not cutting archive logs to disk. an extent and a segment. As objects grow they take chunks of additional storage that are composed of contiguous data blocks. go back to the personal section and read it. Nested Tables.

Faster access to data blocks in a table.get_ddl package. re-create the table. 13. 12. The difference between the two is that the truncate command is a DDL operation and just moves the high water mark and produces a now rollback. A primary key and a foreign key. NOARCHIVELOG mode is basically the absence of ARCHIVELOG mode and has the disadvantage of . Give two examples of referential integrity constraints. A table is classified as a parent table and you want to drop and re-create it. is a DML operation. Where would you look for errors from the database engine? In the alert log. Fact tables and dimension tables. enable the foreign key constraint. . 11. which will produce a rollback and thus take longer to complete. Give two examples of how you might determine the structure of the table DEPT. Both the truncate and delete command have the desired outcome of getting rid of all the rows in a table. Explain the difference between ARCHIVELOG mode and NOARCHIVELOG mode and the benefits and disadvantages to each. Give the reasoning behind using an index. Use the describe command or use the dbms_metadata. 7. 8. The delete command. 6.5. How would you do this without affecting the children tables? Disable the foreign key constraint to the parent. 9. Give the two types of tables involved in producing a star schema and the type of data they hold. ARCHIVELOG mode is a mode that you can put the database in for creating a backup of all transactions that have occurred in the database so that you can recover to any point in time. A fact table contains measurements while dimension tables will contain data that will help describe the fact tables. What type of index should you use on a fact table? A Bitmap index. Compare and contrast TRUNCATE and DELETE for a table. on the other hand. 10. drop the table.

ORACLE_HOME located beneath ORACLE_BASE is where the oracle products reside.The database is mounted STARTUP OPEN .sql or utlxpls. Explain the difference between $ORACLE_HOME and $ORACLE_BASE. 19. It can usually be solved by increasing the undo retention or increasing the size of rollbacks.sql 18. You should also look at the logic involved in the application getting the error message. Give the stages of instance startup to a usable state where normal users may access it.The database is opened 16. Well.Instance startup STARTUP MOUNT . 17.not being able to recover to any point in time. STARTUP NOMOUNT . What command would you use to create a backup control file? Alter database backup control file to trace.sql. Use the explain plan set statement_id = 'tst1' into plan_table for a SQL statement Look at the explain plan with utlxplp. . Explain an ORA-01555 You get this error when you get a snapshot too old within rollback. How would you go about increasing the buffer cache hit ratio? Use the buffer cache advisory over a given workload and then query the v$db_cache_advice table. 20. we have gone through the first 25 questions as I would answer them during an interview. NOARCHIVELOG mode does have the advantage of not having to write transactions to an archive log and thus increases the performance of the database slightly. How would you go about generating an EXPLAIN plan? Create a plan table with utlxplan. 14. 15. ORACLE_BASE is the root directory for oracle. If a change was necessary then I would use the alter system set db_cache_size command. What column differentiates the V$ views to the GV$ views and how? The INST_ID column which indicates the instance in a RAC environment the information came from.

Therefore. 22. How would you determine the time zone under which a database was operating? select DBTIMEZONE from dual. Take a close look at the requirements for any job and try to come up with questions that the interviewer may ask. after you have gone through the questions and answers read the question again and then answer it with your own words. A function and procedure are the same in that they are intended to be a collection of PL/SQL code . Explain the difference between a FUNCTION. and cheers. Technical part 2 The Oracle Technical Interview can be quite daunting. Well here they are. As always remember these are "core" DBA questions and not necessarily related to the Oracle options that you may encounter in some interviews. 23. Explain the use of setting GLOBAL_NAMES equal to TRUE. you must try to put yourself in an interview situation and experience answering the question for yourself. try to give some insight that you know more than just the simple answer to some of these questions. As always. What command would you use to encrypt a PL/SQL application? WRAP 24. You never quite know what to study for and how to prepare. good luck with the process. As always. it is not enough to know the answer to a particular question. PROCEDURE and PACKAGE. Until then. remember that as you go through the article. good luck.Please feel free to add your personal experiences to the answers as it will always improve the process and add your particular touch. Here are the next 30 in this section. As always. Depending on the mood of the interview and your ability to elaborate on the answer. as there are jewels to be found in the quest of figuring out the answer from the question. as I have received many emails since my original article on interview questions was released. do not just memorize the answers. I hope that you find some comfort in the review of them. Technical . This variable is either TRUE or FALSE and if it is set to TRUE it enforces database links to have the same name as the remote database to which they are linking. Next time we will tackle the rest of the questions. be sensitive to the interviewer getting tired of you talking too much. Also. Setting GLOBAL_NAMES dictates how you might connect to a database.Oracle Last time. 21. While these questions are only guidelines as to what should and more than likely will be asked. I am fully aware of this. we answered questions 1 thru 20 of the technical part of the interview.

Table functions are designed to return a set of rows through PL/SQL logic but are intended to be used as a normal table or view in a SQL statement. or aggregated from base tables. 33.that carries a single task. What background process refreshes materialized views? The Job Queue Processes. 29. Materialized views are objects that are reduced sets of information that have been summarized. They are also used to pipeline information in an ETL process. Redo logs are logical and physical structures that are designed to hold all the changes made to a database and are intended to aid in the recovery of a database. what background process cleans up after it? PMON 30. How would you force a log switch? . 26. While a procedure does not have to return any values to the calling application. a function will return a single value. & Timed Statistics 27. Describe what redo logs are. They are typically used in data warehouse or decision support systems. 31. When a user process fails. Segment Level Statistics. Where in the Oracle directory tree structure are audit traces placed? In unix $ORACLE_HOME/rdbms/audit. in Windows the event viewer 28. Name three advisory statistics you can collect. grouped. Explain the use of table functions. 25. A package on the other hand is a collection of functions and procedures that are grouped together based on their commonality to a business function or application. How would you determine what sessions are connected and what resources they are waiting for? Use of V$SESSION and V$SESSION_WAIT 32. Buffer Cache Advice. Explain materialized views and how they are used.

39. The SYSTEM tablespace. How would you determine who has added a row to a table? Turn on fine grain auditing for the table. 41. You could use Logminer or Streams 35. 37. 36. what permissions must you grant to allow them to connect to the database? Grant the CONNECT to the user. When creating a user. What is the difference between a TEMPORARY tablespace and a PERMANENT tablespace? A temporary tablespace is used for temporary objects such as sort structures while permanent tablespaces are used to store those objects meant to be used as the true objects of the database. . Give two methods you could use to determine what DDL changes have been made. What does coalescing a tablespace do? Coalescing is only valid for dictionary-managed tablespaces and de-fragments space by combining neighboring free extents into large single extents. What view would you use to determine free space in a tablespace? DBA_FREE_SPACE 43. 34. How do you add a data file to a tablespace? ALTER TABLESPACE ADD DATAFILE SIZE 40. What view would you use to look at the size of a data file? DBA_DATA_FILES 42.ALTER SYSTEM SWITCH LOGFILE. How do you resize a data file? ALTER DATABASE DATAFILE RESIZE . Name a tablespace automatically created when you create a database. 38.

UNIX Every DBA should know something about the operating system that the database will be running on.44. You have just compiled a PL/SQL package but got errors.SET_SQL_TRACE or Use ALTER SESSION SET SQL_TRACE = TRUE. 46.ORA Technical . The difference is that the import utility relies on the data being produced by another Oracle utility EXPORT while the SQL*Loader utility allows data to be loaded that has been produced by other utilities from different data sources just so long as it conforms to ASCII formatted or delimited files. How can you enable a trace for a session? Use the DBMS_SESSION. TNSNAMES. Partitioning is a method of taking large tables and indexes and splitting them into smaller. more manageable pieces. 1. 45. Name two files used for network connection to a database. how would you view the errors? SHOW ERRORS 47. Explain what partitioning is and what its benefit is. 49. 48.ORA and SQLNET. How can you rebuild an index? ALTER INDEX REBUILD. How do you execute a UNIX command in the background? . The questions here are related to UNIX but you should equally be able to answer questions related to common Windows environments. How do you list the files in an UNIX directory while also showing hidden files? ls -ltra 2. How can you gather statistics on a table? The ANALYZE command. 50. What is the difference between the SQL*Loader and IMPORT utilities? These two Oracle utilities are used for loading data into the database.

Write allows you to create. Basically. Vmstat reports on virtual memory statistics for processes. Give two UNIX kernel parameters that effect an Oracle install SHMMAX & SHMMNI 10. How would you change all occurrences of a value using VI? Use :%s///g 9. the difference between a soft link and a hard link? A symbolic (soft) linked file and the targeted file can be located on the same or different file system while for a hard link they must be located on the same file system.Use the "&" 3. and execute permissions on a UNIX directory. Give the command to display space usage on the UNIX file system. Iostat reports on terminal. kernel parameters. disk. Netstat reports on the contents of network data structures. Execute gives you the previous read/write permissions plus allows you to change into the directory and execute programs or shells from the directory. Briefly. 6. df -lk 7. vmstat and netstat. and run orainst. Remember these are "core" DBA questions . disk and tape I/O activity. tape and CPU activity. I hope that these interview questions were not too hard. Explain the read. set up disks. Explain iostat. write. Read allows you to see and list the directory contents. 8. edit and delete files and subdirectories in the directory. What UNIX command will control the default file permissions when files are created? Umask 4. 5. how do you install Oracle software on UNIX.

and not necessarily related to the Oracle options that you may encounter in some interviews. Good luck! . if they are looking for a DBA to run their databases in RAC environments. For instance. This would allow you to brush up on particular environments and not be caught off-guard. Take a close look at the requirements for any job and try to extract questions that interviewers may ask from manuals and real life experiences. you should try to determine what hardware and software they are using BEFORE you get to the interview.