SQL SERVER – Interview Questions and Answers – Frequently Asked Questions – Day 18 of 31

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Please read the Introductory Post before continue reading interview question and answers.

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How to Copy Data from One Table to Another Table?

There are multiple ways to do this.


This method is used when table is already created in the database earlier and data have to be inserted into this table from another table. If columns listed in the INSERT clause and SELECT clause are same, listing them is not required.


This method is used when table is not created earlier and it needs to be created when data from one table must be inserted into a newly created table from another table. The new table is created using the same data types as those in selected columns. (Read more here)

What is Catalog Views?

Catalog views return information that is used by the SQL Server Database Engine. Catalog Views are the most general interface to the catalog metadata and provide the most efficient way to obtain, transform, and present customized forms of this information. All user-available catalog metadata is exposed through catalog views.

What is PIVOT and UNPIVOT?

A Pivot Table can automatically sort, count, and total the data stored in one table or spreadsheet and create a second table displaying the summarized data. The PIVOT operator turns the values of a specified column into column names, effectively rotating a table.

In simpler word UNPIVOT table is reverse of PIVOT Table, however it is not exactly true. UNPIVOTING is for sure reverse operation to PIVOTING but if during PIVOTING process data aggregated the UNPIVOT table does not return to original table. (Read more here)

What is a Filestream?

Filestream allows you to store large objects in the file system and have these files integrated within the database. It enables SQL Server-based applications to store unstructured data such as documents, images, audios and videos in the file system. FILESTREAM basically integrates the SQL Server Database Engine with New Technology File System (NTFS); it basically stores the data in varbinary (max) data type. Using this data type, the unstructured data is stored in the NTFS file system, and the SQL Server Database Engine manages the link between the Filestream column and the actual file located in the NTFS. Using Transact-SQL statements users can insert, update, delete and select the data stored in FILESTREAM-enabled tables.

What is SQLCMD?

sqlcmd is enhanced version of the isql and osql, and it provides way more functionality than other two options. In other words, sqlcmd is better replacement of isql (which will be deprecated eventually) and osql (not included in SQL Server 2005 RTM). sqlcmd can work in two modes – i) BATCH and ii) interactive modes. (Read more here)

What do you mean by TABLESAMPLE?

TABLESAMPLE allows you to extract a sampling of rows from a table in the FROM clause. The rows retrieved are random and they are not in any order. This sampling can be based on a percentage of number of rows. You can use TABLESAMPLE when only a sampling of rows is necessary for the application instead of a full result set. (Read more here)

What is ROW_NUMBER()?

ROW_NUMBER() returns a column as an expression that contains the row’s number within the result set. This is only a number used in the context of the result set; if the result changes, the ROW_NUMBER() will change.

What are Ranking Functions?

Ranking functions return a ranking value for each row in a partition. All the ranking functions are non-deterministic. The different Ranking functions are as follows:

ROW_NUMBER () OVER ([<partition_by_clause>] <order_by_clause>)
Returns the sequential number of a row within a partition of a result set, starting at 1 for the first row in each partition.

RANK () OVER ([<partition_by_clause>] <order_by_clause>)
Returns the rank of each row within the partition of a result set.

DENSE_RANK () OVER ([<partition_by_clause>] <order_by_clause>)
Returns the rank of rows within the partition of a result set, without any gaps in the ranking. (Read more here )

What is Change Data Capture (CDC) in SQL Server 2008?

Change Data Capture (CDC) records INSERTs, UPDATEs, and DELETEs applied to SQL Server tables and makes a record available of what changed, where, and when, in simple relational ‘change tables’ rather than in an esoteric chopped salad of XML. These change tables contain columns that reflect the column structure of the source table you have chosen to track along with the metadata needed to understand the changes that have been made. (Read more here)

List of all the Interview Questions and Answers Series blogs

Reference: Pinal Dave (https://blog.sqlauthority.com)

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