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Oracle Interview Questions and Answers



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

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