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Oracle Interview Questions And Answers Set - 9

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Oracle Interview
Questions And Answers Set - 9



What are the steps involved in Database Shutdown ?
Close the Database, Dismount the Database and Shutdown the Instance.

What is Archived Redo Log ?
Archived Redo Log consists of Redo Log files that have archived before being reused.
 

What is Restricted Mode of Instance Startup ?
An instance can be started in (or later altered to be in) restricted mode so that when the database is open connections are limited only to those whose user accounts have been granted the RESTRICTED SESSION system privilege.

What are the different types of segments?
Data segment, index segment, rollback segment and temporary segment.

What is a data segment?
Each non-clustered table has a data segment. All of the table's data is stored in the extents of its data segment. Each cluster has a data segment. The data of every table in the cluster is stored in the cluster's data segment.

What is an index segment?
Each index has an index segment that stores all of its data.

What is rollback segment?
A database contains one or more rollback segments to temporarily store "undo" information.

What are the uses of rollback segment?
To generate read-consistent database information during database recovery and to rollback uncommitted transactions by the users.

What is a temporary segment?
Temporary segments are created by Oracle when a SQL statement needs a temporary work area to complete execution. When the statement finishes execution, the temporary segment extents are released to the system for future use.

What is a datafile?
Every Oracle database has one or more physical data files. A database's data files contain all the database data. The data of logical database structures such as tables and indexes is physically stored in the data files allocated for a database.

What are the characteristics of data files?
A data file can be associated with only one database. Once created a data file can't change size. One or more data files form a logical unit of database storage called a tablespace.

What is a redo log?
The set of redo log files for a database is collectively known as the database redo log.
 

What is the function of redo log?
The primary function of the redo log is to record all changes made to data.

What is the use of redo log information?
The information in a redo log file is used only to recover the database from a system or media failure prevents database data from being written to a database's data files.
 

What does a control file contains?
- Database name
- Names and locations of a database's files and redolog files.
- Time stamp of database creation.
 

What is the use of control file?
When an instance of an Oracle database is started, its control file is used to identify the database and redo log files that must be opened for database operation to proceed. It is also used in database recovery.

Is it possible to split the print reviewer into more than one region?
Yes

Is it possible to center an object horizontally in a repeating frame that has a variable horizontal size?
Yes

For a field in a repeating frame, can the source come from the column which does not exist in the data group which forms the base for the frame?
Yes

Can a field be used in a report without it appearing in any data group?
Yes

The join defined by the default data link is an outer join yes or no?
Yes

Can a formula column referred to columns in higher group?
Yes

Can a formula column be obtained through a select statement?
Yes

Is it possible to insert comments into sql statements return in the data model editor?
Yes

Is it possible to disable the parameter from while running the report?
Yes

When a form is invoked with call_form, Does oracle forms issues a save point?
Yes

Explain the difference between a hot backup and a cold backup and the benefits associated with each.
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. A cold backup is taking a backup of the database while it is shut down and does not require being in archive log mode. 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. The benefit of taking a cold backup is that it is typically easier to administer the backup and recovery process. In addition, 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.

You have just had to restore from backup and do not have any control files. How would you go about bringing up this database?
I would create a text based backup control file, stipulating where on disk all the data files where and then issue the recover command with the using backup control file clause.
 

How do you switch from an init.ora file to a spfile?
Issue the create spfile from pfile command.
 

Explain the difference between a data block, an extent and a segment.
A data block is the smallest unit of logical storage for a database object. As objects grow they take chunks of additional storage that are composed of contiguous data blocks. These groupings of contiguous data blocks are called extents. All the extents that an object takes when grouped together are considered the segment of the database object.

Give two examples of how you might determine the structure of the table DEPT.
Use the describe command or use the dbms_metadata.get_ddl package.

Where would you look for errors from the database engine?
In the alert log.

Compare and contrast TRUNCATE and DELETE for a table.
Both the truncate and delete command have the desired outcome of getting rid of all the rows in a table. 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. The delete command, on the other hand, is a DML operation, which will produce a rollback and thus take longer to complete.

Give the reasoning behind using an index.
Faster access to data blocks in a table.

Give the two types of tables involved in producing a star schema and the type of data they hold.
Fact tables and dimension tables. 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.
 

Give two examples of referential integrity constraints.
A primary key and a foreign key.

A table is classified as a parent table and you want to drop and re-create it. How would you do this without affecting the children tables?
Disable the foreign key constraint to the parent, drop the table, re-create the table, enable the foreign key constraint.

Explain the difference between ARCHIVELOG mode and NOARCHIVELOG mode and the benefits and disadvantages to each.
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. NOARCHIVELOG mode is basically the absence of ARCHIVELOG mode and has the disadvantage of not being able to recover to any point in time. 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.

What command would you use to create a backup control file?
Alter database backup control file to trace.

Give the stages of instance startup to a usable state where normal users may access it.
STARTUP NOMOUNT - Instance startup
STARTUP MOUNT - The database is mounted
STARTUP OPEN - The database is opened
 

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.

How would you go about generating an EXPLAIN plan?
Create a plan table with utlxplan.sql.
Use the explain plan set statement_id = 'tst1' into plan_table for a SQL statement
Look at the explain plan with utlxplp.sql or utlxpls.sql
 

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. If a change was necessary then I would use the alter system set db_cache_size command.
 

Explain an ORA-01555
You get this error when you get a snapshot too old within rollback. It can usually be solved by increasing the undo retention or increasing the size of rollbacks. You should also look at the logic involved in the application getting the error message.

Explain the difference between $ORACLE_HOME and $ORACLE_BASE.
ORACLE_BASE is the root directory for oracle. ORACLE_HOME located beneath ORACLE_BASE is where the oracle products reside.

How would you determine the time zone under which a database was operating?
select DBTIMEZONE from dual;

Explain the use of setting GLOBAL_NAMES equal to TRUE.
Setting GLOBAL_NAMES dictates how you might connect to a database. 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.
 

What command would you use to encrypt a PL/SQL application?
WRAP
 

Explain the difference between a FUNCTION, PROCEDURE and PACKAGE.
A function and procedure are the same in that they are intended to be a collection of PL/SQL code that carries a single task. While a procedure does not have to return any values to the calling application, a function will return a single value. 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.

Explain the use of table functions.
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. They are also used to pipeline information in an ETL process.

Name three advisory statistics you can collect.
Buffer Cache Advice, Segment Level Statistics, & Timed Statistics

Where in the Oracle directory tree structure are audit traces placed?
In unix $ORACLE_HOME/rdbms/audit, in Windows the event viewer

Explain materialized views and how they are used.
Materialized views are objects that are reduced sets of information that have been summarized, grouped, or aggregated from base tables. They are typically used in data warehouse or decision support systems.

When a user process fails, what background process cleans up after it?
PMON
 

What background process refreshes materialized views?
The Job Queue Processes.

How would you determine what sessions are connected and what resources they are waiting for?
Use of V$SESSION and V$SESSION_WAIT

Describe what redo logs are.
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.
 

How would you force a log switch?
ALTER SYSTEM SWITCH LOGFILE;

Give two methods you could use to determine what DDL changes have been made.
You could use Logminer or Streams
 

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 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.

Name a tablespace automatically created when you create a database.
The SYSTEM tablespace.

When creating a user, what permissions must you grant to allow them to connect to the database?
Grant the CONNECT to the user.

How do you add a data file to a tablespace
ALTER TABLESPACE <tablespace_name> ADD DATAFILE <datafile_name> SIZE

How do you resize a data file?
ALTER DATABASE DATAFILE <datafile_name> RESIZE <new_size>;

What view would you use to look at the size of a data file?
DBA_DATA_FILES

What view would you use to determine free space in a tablespace?
DBA_FREE_SPACE

How would you determine who has added a row to a table?
Turn on fine grain auditing for the table.

How can you rebuild an index?
ALTER INDEX <index_name> REBUILD;

Explain what partitioning is and what its benefit is.
Partitioning is a method of taking large tables and indexes and splitting them into smaller, more manageable pieces.

You have just compiled a PL/SQL package but got errors, how would you view the errors?
SHOW ERRORS

How can you gather statistics on a table?
The ANALYZE command.
 

How can you enable a trace for a session?
Use the DBMS_SESSION.SET_SQL_TRACE or
Use ALTER SESSION SET SQL_TRACE = TRUE;

What is the difference between the SQL*Loader and IMPORT utilities?
These two Oracle utilities are used for loading data into the database. 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.

Name two files used for network connection to a database.
TNSNAMES.ORA and SQLNET.ORA

What is the function of Optimizer ?
The goal of the optimizer is to choose the most efficient way to execute a SQL statement.

What is Execution Plan ?
The combinations of the steps the optimizer chooses to execute a statement is called an execution plan.

Can one resize tablespaces and data files? (for DBA)
One can manually increase or decrease the size of a datafile from Oracle 7.2 using the command.
ALTER DATABASE DATAFILE 'filename2' RESIZE 100M;
Because you can change the sizes of datafiles, you can add more space to your database without adding more datafiles. This is beneficial if you are concerned about reaching the maximum number of datafiles allowed in your database.
Manually reducing the sizes of datafiles allows you to reclaim unused space in the database. This is useful for correcting errors in estimations of space requirements.
Also, datafiles can be allowed to automatically extend if more space is required. Look at the following command:
CREATE TABLESPACE pcs_data_ts
DATAFILE 'c:ora_appspcspcsdata1.dbf' SIZE 3M
AUTOEXTEND ON NEXT 1M MAXSIZE UNLIMITED
DEFAULT STORAGE (INITIAL 10240
NEXT 10240
MINEXTENTS 1
MAXEXTENTS UNLIMITED
PCTINCREASE 0)
ONLINE
PERMANENT;

What is SAVE POINT ?
For long transactions that contain many SQL statements, intermediate markers or savepoints can be declared which can be used to divide a transaction into smaller parts. This allows the option of later rolling back all work performed from the current point in the transaction to a declared savepoint within the transaction.
 

What are the values that can be specified for OPTIMIZER MODE Parameter ?
COST and RULE.

Can one rename a tablespace? (for DBA)
No, this is listed as Enhancement Request 148742. Workaround:
Export all of the objects from the tablespace
Drop the tablespace including contents
Recreate the tablespace
Import the objects
 

What is RULE-based approach to optimization ?
Choosing an executing planbased on the access paths available and the ranks of these access paths.

What are the values that can be specified for OPTIMIZER_GOAL parameter of the ALTER SESSION Command ?
CHOOSE,ALL_ROWS,FIRST_ROWS and RULE.

How does one create a standby database? (for DBA)
While your production database is running, take an (image copy) backup and restore it on duplicate hardware. Note that an export will not work!!!
On your standby database, issue the following commands:
ALTER DATABASE CREATE STANDBY CONTROLFILE AS 'filename';
ALTER DATABASE MOUNT STANDBY DATABASE;
RECOVER STANDBY DATABASE;
On systems prior to Oracle 8i, write a job to copy archived redo log files from the primary database to the standby system, and apply the redo log files to the standby database (pipe it). Remember the database is recovering and will prompt you for the next log file to apply.
Oracle 8i onwards provide an "Automated Standby Database" feature, which will send archived, log files to the remote site via NET8, and apply then to the standby database.
When one needs to activate the standby database, stop the recovery process and activate it:
ALTER DATABASE ACTIVATE STANDBY DATABASE;
 

How does one give developers access to trace files (required as input to tkprof)? (for DBA)
The "alter session set sql_trace=true" command generates trace files in USER_DUMP_DEST that can be used by developers as input to tkprof. On Unix the default file mask for these files are "rwx r-- ---".
There is an undocumented INIT.ORA parameter that will allow everyone to read (rwx r-r--) these trace files:
_trace_files_public = true
Include this in your INIT.ORA file and bounce your database for it to take effect.

What are the responsibilities of a Database Administrator ?
Installing and upgrading the Oracle Server and application tools. Allocating system storage and planning future storage requirements for the database system. Managing primary database structures (tablespaces) Managing primary objects (table,views,indexes) Enrolling users and maintaining system security. Ensuring compliance with Oralce license agreement Controlling and monitoring user access to the database. Monitoring and optimizing the performance of the database. Planning for backup and recovery of database information. Maintain archived data on tape Backing up and restoring the database. Contacting Oracle Corporation for technical support.

What is a trace file and how is it created ?
Each server and background process can write an associated trace file. When an internal error is detected by a process or user process, it dumps information about the error to its trace. This can be used for tuning the database.

What are the roles and user accounts created automatically with the database?
DBA - role Contains all database system privileges.
SYS user account - The DBA role will be assigned to this account. All of the base tables and views for the database's dictionary are store in this schema and are manipulated only by ORACLE. SYSTEM user account - It has all the system privileges for the database and additional tables and views that display administrative information and internal tables and views used by oracle tools are created using this username.

What are the minimum parameters should exist in the parameter file (init.ora) ?
DB NAME - Must set to a text string of no more than 8 characters and it will be stored inside the datafiles, redo log files and control files and control file while database creation.
DB_DOMAIN - It is string that specifies the network domain where the database is created. The global database name is identified by setting these parameters
(DB_NAME & DB_DOMAIN) CONTORL FILES - List of control filenames of the database. If name is not mentioned then default name will be used.
DB_BLOCK_BUFFERS - To determine the no of buffers in the buffer cache in SGA.
PROCESSES - To determine number of operating system processes that can be connected to ORACLE concurrently. The value should be 5 (background process) and additional 1 for each user.
ROLLBACK_SEGMENTS - List of rollback segments an ORACLE instance acquires at database startup. Also optionally LICENSE_MAX_SESSIONS,LICENSE_SESSION_WARNING and LICENSE_MAX_USERS.

Why and when should I backup my database? (for DBA)
Backup and recovery is one of the most important aspects of a DBAs job. If you lose your company's data, you could very well lose your job. Hardware and software can always be replaced, but your data may be irreplaceable!
Normally one would schedule a hierarchy of daily, weekly and monthly backups, however consult with your users before deciding on a backup schedule. Backup frequency normally depends on the following factors:
. Rate of data change/ transaction rate
. Database availability/ Can you shutdown for cold backups?
. Criticality of the data/ Value of the data to the company
. Read-only tablespace needs backing up just once right after you make it read-only
. If you are running in archivelog mode you can backup parts of a database over an extended cycle of days
. If archive logging is enabled one needs to backup archived log files timeously to prevent database freezes
. Etc.
Carefully plan backup retention periods. Ensure enough backup media (tapes) are available and that old backups are expired in-time to make media available for new backups. Off-site vaulting is also highly recommended.
Frequently test your ability to recover and document all possible scenarios. Remember, it's the little things that will get you. Most failed recoveries are a result of organizational errors and miscommunications.

What strategies are available for backing-up an Oracle database? (for DBA)
The following methods are valid for backing-up an Oracle database:
Export/Import - Exports are "logical" database backups in that they extract logical definitions and data from the database to a file.
Cold or Off-line Backups - Shut the database down and backup up ALL data, log, and control files.
Hot or On-line Backups - If the databases are available and in ARCHIVELOG mode, set the tablespaces into backup mode and backup their files. Also remember to backup the control files and archived redo log files.
RMAN Backups - While the database is off-line or on-line, use the "rman" utility to backup the database.
It is advisable to use more than one of these methods to backup your database. For example, if you choose to do on-line database backups, also cover yourself by doing database exports. Also test ALL backup and recovery scenarios carefully. It is better to be save than sorry.
Regardless of your strategy, also remember to backup all required software libraries, parameter files, password files, etc. If your database is in ARCGIVELOG mode, you also need to backup archived log files.

What is the difference between online and offline backups? (for DBA)
A hot backup is a backup performed while the database is online and available for read/write. Except for Oracle exports, one can only do on-line backups when running in ARCHIVELOG mode.
A cold backup is a backup performed while the database is off-line and unavailable to its users.

What is the difference between restoring and recovering? (for DBA)
Restoring involves copying backup files from secondary storage (backup media) to disk. This can be done to replace damaged files or to copy/move a database to a new location.
Recovery is the process of applying redo logs to the database to roll it forward. One can roll-forward until a specific point-in-time (before the disaster occurred), or roll-forward until the last transaction recorded in the log files. Sql> connect SYS as SYSDBA
Sql> RECOVER DATABASE UNTIL TIME '2001-03-06:16:00:00' USING BACKUP CONTROLFILE;

How does one backup a database using the export utility? (for DBA)
Oracle exports are "logical" database backups (not physical) as they extract data and logical definitions from the database into a file. Other backup strategies normally back-up the physical data files.
One of the advantages of exports is that one can selectively re-import tables, however one cannot roll-forward from an restored export file. To completely restore a database from an export file one practically needs to recreate the entire database.
Always do full system level exports (FULL=YES). Full exports include more information about the database in the export file than user level exports.

What are the built_ins used the display the LOV?
Show_lov
List_values
 

How do you call other Oracle Products from Oracle Forms?
Run_product is a built-in, Used to invoke one of the supported oracle tools products and specifies the name of the document or module to be run. If the called product is unavailable at the time of the call, Oracle Forms returns a message to the operator.

What is the main diff. bet. Reports 2.0 & Reports 2.5?
Report 2.5 is object oriented.

What are the Built-ins to display the user-named editor?
A user named editor can be displayed programmatically with the built in procedure SHOW-EDITOR, EDIT_TETITEM independent of any particular text item.

How many number of columns a record group can have?
A record group can have an unlimited number of columns of type CHAR, LONG, NUMBER, or DATE provided that the total number of column does not exceed 64K.

What is a Query Record Group?
A query record group is a record group that has an associated SELECT statement. The columns in a query record group derive their default names, data types, had lengths from the database columns referenced in the SELECT statement. The records in query record group are the rows retrieved by the query associated with that record group.

What does the term panel refer to with regard to pages?
A panel is the no. of physical pages needed to print one logical page.

What is a master detail relationship?
A master detail relationship is an association between two base table blocks- a master block and a detail block. The relationship between the blocks reflects a primary key to foreign key relationship between the tables on which the blocks are based.

What is a library?
A library is a collection of subprograms including user named procedures, functions and packages.

What is an anchoring object & what is its use? What are the various sub events a mouse double click event involves?
An anchoring object is a print condition object which used to explicitly or implicitly anchor other objects to itself.

Use the add_group_column function to add a column to record group that was created at a design time?
False

What are the various sub events a mouse double click event involves? What are the various sub events a mouse double click event involves?
Double clicking the mouse consists of the mouse down, mouse up, mouse click, mouse down & mouse up events.

What is the use of break group? What are the various sub events a mouse double click event involves?
A break group is used to display one record for one group ones. While multiple related records in other group can be displayed.

What tuning indicators can one use? (for DBA)
The following high-level tuning indicators can be used to establish if a database is performing optimally or not:
. Buffer Cache Hit Ratio
Formula: Hit Ratio = (Logical Reads - Physical Reads) / Logical Reads
Action: Increase DB_CACHE_SIZE (DB_BLOCK_BUFFERS prior to 9i) to increase hit ratio
. Library Cache Hit Ratio
Action: Increase the SHARED_POOL_SIZE to increase hit ratio

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