June 2008 | SansSQL

Monday, June 16, 2008

An easy way to track the growth of your database

Create Proc GTrack (@DBName varchar(40))
Select @DBName as [Growth Track of database]
Select BackupDate = convert(varchar(10),backup_start_date, 111) ,SizeInGigs=floor( backup_size/1024000000) from msdb..backupset where database_name = @DBName and type = 'd' order by backup_start_date desc

--EXEC GTrack 'PUBS'

Thursday, June 12, 2008

What is an execution plan? When would you use it? How would you view the execution plan?

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.

Virtual Tables a Trigger uses

Inserted and Deleted are the two tables that are virtual and is used by a trigger in order to store the data that is inserted and deleted using a trigger.

What is the basic functions for master, msdb, model, tempdb databases?

The Master database holds information for all databases located on the SQL Server instance and is the glue that holds the engine together. Because SQL Server cannot start without a functioning master database, 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.

What is the basic functions for master, msdb, model, tempdb databases?

The Master database holds information for all databases located on the SQL Server instance and is the glue that holds the engine together. Because SQL Server cannot start without a functioning master database, 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.

Rebuild Master Database

Shutdown Microsoft SQL Server 2000, and then run Rebuildm.exe. This is located in the Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\80\Tools\Binn directory.
In the Rebuild Master dialog box, click Browse.
In the Browse for Folder dialog box, select the \Data folder on the SQL Server 2000 compact disc or in the shared network directory from which SQL Server 2000 was installed, and then click OK. Click Settings. In the Collation Settings dialog box, verify or change settings used for the master database and all other databases.Initially, the default collation settings are shown, but these may not match the collation selected during setup. You can select the same settings used during setup or select new collation settings. When done, click OK.
In the Rebuild Master dialog box, click Rebuild to start the process. The Rebuild Master utility reinstalls the master database. To continue, you may need to stop a server that is running.

What is the STUFF function and how does it differ from the REPLACE function?

STUFF function 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 occurance. Using this 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.

What are the OS services that the SQL Server installation adds?

  • DTC (Distribution transac co-ordinator)

What are the different types of replication?

The SQL Server 2000-supported replication types are as follows:·
  • Transactional
  • Snapshot
  • Merge

Snapshot replication distributes data exactly as it appears at a specific moment in time and does not monitor for updates to the data. Snapshot replication is best used as a method for replicating data that changes infrequently or where the most up-to-date values (low latency) are not a requirement. Whensynchronization occurs, the entire snapshot is generated and sent to Subscribers.
Transactional replication, an initial snapshot of data is applied at Subscribers, and then when data modifications are made at the Publisher, the individual transactions are captured and propagated to Subscribers.
Merge replication is the process of distributing data from Publisher to Subscribers, allowing the Publisher and Subscribers to make updates while connected or disconnected, and then merging the updates between sites when they are connected.

What is sp_configure commands and set commands?

Use sp_configure to display or change server-level settings. To change database-level settings, use ALTER DATABASE. To change settings that affect only the current user session, use the SET statement.

What command do we use to rename a db?

sp_renamedb 'oldname' , 'newname'

What is the difference between a local and a global variable?

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 are 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.

What is log shipping?

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

What is Raiseerror?

Stored procedures report errors to client applications via the RAISERROR command. RAISERROR
doesn't change the flow of a procedure; it merely displays an error message, sets the @@ERROR
automatic variable, and optionally writes the message to the SQL Server error log and the NT
application event log.

What is @@ERROR?

The @@ERROR automatic variable returns the error code of the last Transact-SQL statement. If there was no error, @@ERROR returns zero. Because @@ERROR is reset after each Transact-SQL statement,it must be saved to a variable if it is needed to process it further after checking it.

What is SQL server agent?

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.

Which command using Query Analyzer will give you the version of SQL server and operating system?

SELECT SERVERPROPERTY('productversion'),

Where are SQL server users names and passwords are stored in sql server?

They get stored in master db in the sysxlogins table

What are the authentication modes in SQL Server? How can it be changed?

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.

Which TCP/IP port does SQL Server run on? How can it be changed?

SQL Server runs on port 1433. It can be changed from the Network Utility TCP/IP properties –> Port number.both on client and the server.

What is SQL Profiler?

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

What is the difference between a HAVING CLAUSE and a WHERE CLAUSE?

Specifies a search condition for a group or an aggregate. HAVING can be used only with the SELECT statement. HAVING is typically used in a GROUP BY clause. When GROUP BY is not used, HAVING behaves like a WHERE clause. Having Clause is basically used only with the GROUP BY function in a query. WHERE Clause is applied to each row before they are part of the GROUP BY function in a query.

Difference between Function and Stored Procedure?

UDF can be used in the SQL statements anywhere in the WHERE/HAVING/SELECT section where as Stored procedures cannot be. UDFs that return tables can be treated as another rowset. This can be used in JOINs with other tables. Inline UDF's can be though of as views that take parameters and can be used in JOINs and otherRowset operations.

What is difference between DELETE & TRUNCATE commands?

Delete command removes the rows from a table based on the condition that we provide with a WHEREclause. Truncate will actually remove all the rows from a table and there will be no data in the tableafter 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 thepage deallocations are recorded in the transaction log.TRUNCATE removes all rows from a table, but the table structure and its columns, constraints, indexesand so on remain. 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 can not 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 definitionand its data, use the DROP TABLE statement.DELETE Can be used with or without a WHERE clauseDELETE Activates Triggers.DELETE Can be Rolled back.DELETE is DML Command.DELETE does not reset identity of the table.

How to implement one-to-one, one-to-many and many-to-many relationships while designing tables?

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.

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.

What is Collation?

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 casesensitivity,accent marks, kana character types and character width.

What is a Linked Server?

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

What is the use of DBCC commands?

DBCC stands for database consistency checker. We use these commands to check the consistency of the databases, i.e., maintenance, validation task and status checks.
DBCC CHECKDB - Ensures that tables in the db and the indexes are correctly linked.DBCC CHECKALLOC - To check that all pages in a db are correctly allocated.DBCC CHECKFILEGROUP - Checks all tables file group for any damage.

What is cursors?

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

What are the different index configurations a table can have?

A table can have one of the following index Configurations:
  1. No indexes
  2. A clustered index
  3. A clustered index and many nonclustered indexes
  4. A nonclustered index
  5. Many nonclustered indexes

What is the difference between clustered and a non-clustered index?

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 nonclustered 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 nonclustered index does not consist of the data pages. Instead, the leaf nodes contain index rows

What is Index?

An index is a physical structure containing pointers to the data. Indices are created in an existing tableto 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 SQLServer 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.
Clustered indexes define the physical sorting of a database table’s rows in the storage media. For this reason, each database table may have only one clustered index.
Non-clustered indexes are created outside of the database table and contain a sorted list of referencesto the table itself.

What is View?

A simple view can be thought of as a subset of a table. It can be used for retrieving data, as well as updating or deleting rows. Rows updated or deleted in the view are updated or deleted in the table the view was created with. It should also be noted that as data in the original table changes, so does data in the view, as views are the way to look at part of the original table. The results of using a view are not permanently stored in the database. The data accessed through a view is actually constructed using standard T-SQL select command and can come from one to many different base tables or even other views.

What is Trigger?

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;the 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 theprocedure 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 thetrigger is fired because of data modification it can also cause another data modification, thereby firinganother trigger. A trigger that contains data modification logic within itself is called a nested trigger.

What is Stored Procedure?

A stored procedure is a named group of SQL statements that have been previously created and stored in the server database. Stored procedures accept input parameters so that a single procedure can be used over the network by several clients using different input data. And when the procedure is modified, all clients automatically get the new version. Stored procedures reduce network traffic and improve performance. Stored procedures can be used to help ensure the integrity of the database.
e.g. sp_helpdb, sp_renamedb, sp_depends etc.

What are different normalization forms?

1NF: Eliminate Repeating Groups
Make a separate table for each set of related attributes, and give each table a primary key. Each field contains at most one value from its attribute domain.
2NF: Eliminate Redundant Data
If an attribute depends on only part of a multi-valued key, remove it to a separate table.
3NF: Eliminate Columns Not Dependent On Key
If attributes do not contribute to a description of the key, remove them to a separate table. All attributes must be directly dependent on the primary key
BCNF: Boyce-Codd Normal Form
If there are non-trivial dependencies between candidate key attributes, separate them out into distinct tables

What is normalization?

Database normalization is a data design and organization process applied to data structures based on rules that help build relational databases. In relational database design, the process of organizing data to minimize redundancy. Normalization usually involves dividing a database into two or more tables and defining relationships between the tables. The objective is to isolate data so that additions, deletions,and modifications of a field can be made in just one table and then propagated through the rest of the database via the defined relationships.

What is RDBMS?

Relational Data Base Management Systems (RDBMS) are database management systems that maintain data records and indices in tables. Relationships may be created and maintained across and among the data and tables. In a relational database, relationships between data items are expressed by means of tables. Interdependencies among these tables are expressed by data values rather than by pointers.This allows a high degree of data independence. An RDBMS has the capability to recombine the data items from different files, providing powerful tools for data usage.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Stored Proc to list all object dependencies

EXEC sp_depends 'Object Name'
sp_depends displays information about database object dependencies.
sp_depends displays two result sets. First One shows the objects on which the 'given
object' depends and the second shows the objects that depend on the 'given object'

Friday, June 6, 2008

Query to Check if a table is system table or User table

0 --> Indicates User Table
1 --> Indicates System Table

Query to mark a user table as a system table

EXEC sp_ms_marksystemobject 'TableName' Go

dtproperties Table in SQL Server 2000

dtproperties is a system table that stores the information about the Database Diagrams created in a particular database. Whenever a Database diagram is created or modified this table
gets updated automatically.

Basically this is a system table but when we run the below query we will get the name of
dtproperties table in the result set, indicating that this is user table.Microsoft has
confirmed that this is a bug in the Microsoft SQL Server.

Select * from sysobjects where xtype='u'

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Finding Difference between Tables in SQL 2005

In SQL 2005 the difference between tables can be easily found by using the tool
TableDiff.exe is a comparison tool that is provided with the sql server.
It will be found in the following location:
"C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\90\COM\TableDiff.exe"
The Drive name depends on where the SQL is Installed.
This tool compares 2 tables of the same database on the same server and creates a new
table called new Table that holds the differences.

"C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\90\COM\tablediff.exe"
-sourceserver ServerName
-sourcedatabase DatabaseName
-sourcetable TableName
-destinationserver ServerName
-destinationdatabase DatabaseName
-destinationtable TableName
-et NewTableName

For more information on this utility check out the microsoft website:

Undocumented Stored Procedure to get SQL Version

EXEC master..sp_MSgetversion

Different ways of finding SQL Version

1. EXEC master..sp_MSgetversion
2. SELECT SERVERPROPERTY('productversion'),SERVERPROPERTY ('productlevel')
3. SELECT @@version
4. EXEC master..xp_msver

The sp_MSgetversion is an Undocumented Stored Proc to find the SQL Version.

Where are Temp tables found???

Temp tables are found in the Tempdb database. we can find the names of the temp tables that are created by executing the below Query

Select * from tempdb..sysobjects where type = 'U'

Status of the Database

The Different Statuses that a database can undergo

1 = autoclose (ALTER DATABASE)
4 = select into/bulkcopy (ALTER DATABASE using SET RECOVERY)
8 = trunc. log on chkpt (ALTER DATABASE using SET RECOVERY)
16 = torn page detection (ALTER DATABASE)
32 = loading
64 = pre recovery
128 = recovering
256 = not recovered
512 = offline (ALTER DATABASE)
1024 = read only (ALTER DATABASE)
2048 = dbo use only (ALTER DATABASE using SET RESTRICTED_USER)
4096 = single user (ALTER DATABASE)
32768 = emergency mode
4194304 = autoshrink (ALTER DATABASE)
1073741824 = cleanly shutdown