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DataBase Administrator (DBA) Interview Questions and Answers

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(Continued from previous part...)

Interview Questions for DBA (1)

1. Give one method for transferring a table from one schema to another:
Expected Answer: There are several possible methods, export-import, CREATE TABLE... AS SELECT, or COPY.

2. What is the purpose of the IMPORT option IGNORE? What is it?s default setting?
Level: Low
Expected Answer: The IMPORT IGNORE option tells import to ignore "already exists" errors. If it is not specified the tables that already exist will be skipped. If it is specified, the error is ignored and the tables data will be inserted. The default value is N.

3. You have a rollback segment in a version 7.2 database that has expanded beyond optimal, how can it be restored to optimal?
Level: Low
Expected answer: Use the ALTER TABLESPACE ..... SHRINK command.

4. If the DEFAULT and TEMPORARY tablespace clauses are left out of a CREATE USER command what happens? Is this bad or good? Why?
Level: Low
Expected answer: The user is assigned the SYSTEM tablespace as a default and temporary tablespace. This is bad because it causes user objects and temporary segments to be placed into the SYSTEM tablespace resulting in fragmentation and improper table placement (only data dictionary objects and the system rollback segment should be in SYSTEM).

5. What are some of the Oracle provided packages that DBAs should be aware of?
Level: Intermediate to High
Expected answer: Oracle provides a number of packages in the form of the DBMS_ packages owned by the SYS user. The packages used by DBAs may include: DBMS_SHARED_POOL, DBMS_UTILITY, DBMS_SQL, DBMS_DDL, DBMS_SESSION, DBMS_OUTPUT and DBMS_SNAPSHOT. They may also try to answer with the UTL*.SQL or CAT*.SQL series of SQL procedures. These can be viewed as extra credit but aren?t part of the answer.

6. What happens if the constraint name is left out of a constraint clause?
Level: Low
Expected answer: The Oracle system will use the default name of SYS_Cxxxx where xxxx is a system generated number. This is bad since it makes tracking which table the constraint belongs to or what the constraint does harder.

7. What happens if a tablespace clause is left off of a primary key constraint clause?
Level: Low
Expected answer: This results in the index that is automatically generated being placed in then users default tablespace. Since this will usually be the same tablespace as the table is being created in, this can cause serious performance problems.

8. What is the proper method for disabling and re-enabling a primary key constraint?
Level: Intermediate
Expected answer: You use the ALTER TABLE command for both. However, for the enable clause you must specify the USING INDEX and TABLESPACE clause for primary keys.

9. What happens if a primary key constraint is disabled and then enabled without fully specifying the index clause?
Level: Intermediate
Expected answer: The index is created in the user?s default tablespace and all sizing information is lost. Oracle doesn?t store this information as a part of the constraint definition, but only as part of the index definition, when the constraint was disabled the index was dropped and the information is gone.

10. (On UNIX) When should more than one DB writer process be used? How many should be used?
Level: High
Expected answer: If the UNIX system being used is capable of asynchronous IO then only one is required, if the system is not capable of asynchronous IO then up to twice the number of disks used by Oracle number of DB writers should be specified by use of the db_writers initialization parameter.

(Continued on next part...)

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