Frequently Asked Question on DBMS

by anupmaurya
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In this article on Frequently Asked Question on DBMS , I will be discussing the top questions related to DBMS asked in your interviews.

Q1. What are the differences between a DBMS and RDBMS? 

Table of Contents

DBMSRDBMS
Provides an organized way of managing, retrieving, and storing from a collection of logically related informationProvides the same as that of DBMS, but it provides relational integrity

Q2. Explain the terms database and DBMS. Also, mention the different types of DBMS.

A software application that interacts with databases, applications, and users to capture and analyze the required data. The data stored in the database can be retrieved, deleted and modified based on the client’s requirement.

The different types of DBMS are as follows:

  • Relational DBMS (RDBMS): This type of DBMS, uses a structure which allows the users to access data in relation to another piece of data in a database. In this type of DBMS, data is stored in the form of tables.
  • Hierarchical DBMS:  As the name suggests, this type of DBMS has a structure similar to that of a tree, wherein the nodes represent records and the branches of the tree represent fields.
  • Network DBMS: This type of DBMS supports many-to-many relations wherein multiple member records can be linked.
  • Object-oriented DBMS: Uses small individual software called object to store pieces of data and the instructions for the actions to be done with the data.

Q3. What are the advantages of DBMS?

The advantages of DBMS are as follows:

  • Sharing of Data: Multiple users can use data from the same database simultaneously.
  • Integrity constraints: These constraints allow the data to be stored in a database in a refined manner.
  • Redundancy control: Supports a mechanism to control the redundancy of data by integrating all the data into a single database.
  • Data Independence: Allows to change the structure of the data without affecting the structure of any of the running application programs.
  • Provide backup and recovery facility: Provides a feature of ‘backup and recovery’ to automatically create the data backup and restore the data as and when required.

Q4. Mention the different languages present in DBMS

The different languages present in DBMS are as follows:

  • DDL(Data Definition Language) – Consists of commands which are used to define the database.
  • DML(Data Manipulation Language) –  Consists of commands which are used to manipulate the data present in the database.
  • DCL(Data Control Language) – Consists of commands which deal with the user permissions and controls of the database system.
  • TCL(Transaction Control Language) – Consist of commands which deal with the transaction of the database.

Q5. What do you understand by query optimization?

Query optimization is the phase that identifies a plan for evaluation query that has the least estimated cost. This phase comes into the picture when there are a lot of algorithms and methods to execute the same task.

The advantages of query optimization are as follows:

  • The output is provided faster
  • A larger number of queries can be executed in less time
  • Reduces time and space complexity

Q6. Do we consider NULL values the same as that of blank space or zero? 

A NULL value is not at all same as that of zero or a blank space. The NULL value represents a value which is unavailable, unknown, assigned or not applicable whereas zero is a number and blank space is a character.

Q7. What do you understand by aggregation and atomicity?

AggregationAtomicity
This is a feature of the E-R  model which allows a relationship set to participate in another relationship set.This property states that a database modification must either follow all the rules or nothing at all. So, if one part of the transaction fails, then the entire transaction fails.

Q8. What are the different levels of abstraction in the DBMS?

There are three levels of data abstraction in DBMS. They are:

  • Physical Level: It is the lowest level of abstraction and describes how the data is stored.
  • Logical Level: This is the next level of abstraction after the Physical level. This layer determines what data is stored in the database, and what is the relationship between the data points.
  • View Level: The View Level is the highest level of abstraction and it describes only a part of the entire database.

Q9. What is an entity-relationship model?

It is a diagrammatic approach to database design, where you represent real-world objects as entities and mention relationships between them. This approach helps the team of DBAs’ to understand the schema easily.

Q10. What do you understand by the terms Entity, Entity Type, and Entity Set in DBMS?

  • Entity: An entity is a real-world object having attributes, which are nothing but characteristics of that particular object. For example, an employee can be an entity. This particular entity can have attributes such as empid, empname, etc.
  • Entity Type: Entity type is nothing but a collection of entities, having the same attributes. Generally, an entity type refers to one or more related tables in a particular database. So, you can understand, entity type as a characteristic which uniquely identifies the entity. For example, An employee can have attributes such as empid, empname, department, etc.
  • Entity Set: An entity set is the collection of all the entities of a particular entity type in a database. For example, a set of employees, a set of companies, and a set of people can come under an entity set.

Q11. What are relationships and mention different types of relationships in the DBMS

A relationship in DBMS is the scenario where two entities are related to each other. In such a scenario, the table consisting of foreign key references to that of a primary key of the other table.

The different types of relationships in DBMS are as follows:

  • One-to-One Relationship –  Used when a single row in Table A is related to a single row in Table B.
  • One-to-Many Relationship – Used when a single row in Table A is related to many rows in table B.
  • Many-to-Many Relationship – Used when many rows in table A can be related to many rows in table B.
  • Self -Referencing Relationship – Used when a record in table A is related to the same table itself.

Q12. Describe the types of keys?

There are following types of keys:

Primary key: The Primary key is an attribute in a table that can uniquely identify each record in a table. It is compulsory for every table.

Candidate key: The Candidate key is an attribute or set of an attribute which can uniquely identify a tuple. The Primary key can be selected from these attributes.

Super key: The Super key is a set of attributes which can uniquely identify a tuple. Super key is a superset of the candidate key.

Foreign key: The Foreign key is a primary key from one table, which has a relationship with another table. It acts as a cross-reference between tables.

Q13. What are the ACID properties in DBMS?

ACID stands for Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability. It is used to ensure that the data transactions are processed reliably in a database system. 

  • Atomicity: Atomicity refers to those transactions which are completely successful or failed. Here each transaction refers to a single logical operation of a data. So, even if one part of any transaction fails, the entire transaction fails and the database state is left unchanged.
  • Consistency: Consistency ensures that the data must meet all the validation rules. In simple words,  you can say that your transaction never leaves the database without completing its state.
  • Isolation: The main goal of isolation is concurrency control.
  • Durability: Durability means that if a transaction has been committed, it will occur whatever may be the scenario.

Q14. What is concurrency control?

This is a process of managing simultaneous operations in a database so that database integrity is not compromised. The following are the two approaches involved in concurrency control:

  • Optimistic approach – Involves versioning
  • Pessimistic approach – Involves locking

Q15. How do you communicate with an RDBMS?

You have to use Structured Query Language (SQL) to communicate with the RDBMS. Using queries of SQL, we can give the input to the database and then after processing of the queries database will provide us the required output.

Q16. What is the difference between a shared lock and exclusive lock?

Shared lock: Shared lock is required for reading a data item. In the shared lock, many transactions may hold a lock on the same data item. When more than one transaction is allowed to read the data items then that is known as the shared lock.

Exclusive lock: When any transaction is about to perform the write operation, then the lock on the data item is an exclusive lock. Because, if we allow more than one transaction then that will lead to inconsistency in the database.

Q17. What is normalization and what are the different types of normalization?

The process of organizing data to avoid any duplication of data and redundancy is known as Normalization. There are many successive levels of normalization which are known as normal forms. Each consecutive normal form depends on the previous one. The following are the first three normal forms. Apart from these, you have higher normal forms such as BCNF. 

  • First Normal Form (1NF) – No repeating groups within rows
  • Second Normal Form (2NF) – Every non-key (supporting) column value is dependent on the whole primary key.
  • Third Normal Form (3NF) – Dependent solely on the primary key and no other non-key (supporting) column value.

Q18. What is Join?

The Join operation is one of the most useful activities in relational algebra. It is most commonly used way to combine information from two or more relations. A Join is always performed on the basis of the same or related column. Most complex queries of SQL involve JOIN command.

There are following types of join:

  • Inner joins: Inner join is of 3 categories. They are:
    • Theta join
    • Natural join
    • Equi join
  • Outer joins: Outer join have three types. They are:
    • Left outer join
    • Right outer join
    • Full outer join

Q19. Explain Database partitioning and its importance.

Data partitioning is the process of dividing a logical database into independent units for the betterment of availability, performance, and manageability.

The importance of database partitioning is as follows:

  • Enables you to access large parts of a specific partition
  • Cheap and slower storage can be used to store data
  • Improves query performance

Q20. Mention the differences between Trigger and Stored Procedures

TriggersStored Procedures
A special kind of stored procedure that is not called directly by a user. In fact, a trigger is created and is programmed to fire when a specific event occurs.A group of SQL statements which can be reused again and again. These statements are created and stored in the database.
A trigger cannot be called or execute directly by a user.  Only when the corresponding events are fired, triggers are created.Can execute stored procedures by using the exec command, whenever we want.
You cannot schedule a trigger.You can schedule a job to execute the stored procedure on a pre-defined time.
Cannot directly call another trigger within a trigger.Call a stored procedure from another stored procedure.
 Parameters cannot be passed as input Parameters can be passed as input
Cannot return values.Can return zero or n values.
Transactions are not allowed within a trigger.You can use transactions within a stored procedure.

Q21. What are the differences between Hash join, Merge join and Nested loops?

Hash joinMerge joinNested loops
The hash join is used when you have to join large tables.Merge join is used when projections of the joined tables are sorted on the join columns.The nested loop consists of an outer loop and an inner loop.


Q22. What do you understand by Proactive, Retroactive and Simultaneous Update?

  • Proactive Update: These updates are applied to the database before it becomes effective in the real-world environment.
  • Retroactive Update: These retroactive updates are applied to a database after it becomes effective in the real-world environment.
  • Simultaneous Update: These updates are applied to the database at the same instance of time as it becomes effective in a real-world environment.

Q23. What are indexes? Mention the differences between the clustered and non-clustered index

Indexes are data structures responsible for improving the speed of data retrieval operations on a table. This data structure uses more storage space to maintain extra copies of data by using additional writes. So, indexes are mainly used for searching algorithms, where you wish to retrieve data in a quick manner.

The differences between clustered and non-clustered index are as follows:

Clustered IndexNon-clustered Index
A clustered index is fasterNon clustered index is relatively slower
Alters the way records are stored in a database as it sorts out rows by the column which is set to be clustered indexDoes not alter the way it was stored but it creates a separate object within a table which points back to the original table rows after searching
One table can only have one clustered indexOne table can only have many non clustered indexes

Q24. What do you understand by intension and extension?

Intension: Intension or most commonly known as Database schema defines the description of the database. This is specified during the database design and mostly remains unchanged.

Extension: Extension is the number of tuples available in the database at any instance of time. This value keeps changing as and when the tuples are created, updated and destroyed. So, the data present in the database at a specific instance of time is known as the extension of the database or most commonly known as the snapshot of the database.

Q25. What do you understand by cursor? Mention the different types of cursor

A cursor is a database object which helps in manipulating data, row by row and represents a result set.

The types of cursor are as follows:

  • Implicit cursor: This type of cursor is declared automatically as soon as the execution of SQL takes place. Here, the user is not indicated about the declaration of the cursor.
  • Explicit cursor: This type of cursor is defined by the PL/ SQL, as it handles a query in more than a single row.

Q26. Explain the terms specialization and generalization

  • Specialization: Specialization is a process of defining a set of subclasses of the entity type. Here, each subclass will contain all the attributes and relationships of the parent entity. Apart from this, the subclasses may contain additional attributes and relationships specific to itself.
  • Generalization: Generalization is a process of finding relations, common attributes for a particular set of entities; and finally defining a common superclass for them.

Q27. What do you understand by Data Independence?

When you say an application has data independence, it implies that the application is independent of the storage structure and data access strategies of data.

Q28. What are the different integrity rules present in the DBMS?

The different integrity rules present in DBMS are as follows:

  • Entity Integrity: This rule states that the value of the primary key can never be NULL. So, all the tuples in the column identified as the primary key should have a value.
  • Referential Integrity: This rule states that either the value of the foreign key is NULL or it should be the primary key of any other relation.

Q29. Difference between internal and external hashing?

The basic difference between internal and external hashing is that internal hashing is mainly used for an internal file it in particularly an array of records whereas, Externalhashing is used for file disk.

Hashing is the transformation of a string of characters into a usually shorter fixed-length value and key that represents the original string.

This is used to index and retrieve items in a database because it is faster to find the item using the shorter hashed key than to find it using the original value.

Q30. What is Extendable hashing?

The Extendable hashing method is used to overcome the problems of static hashing like bucket overflow.
In this method, data buckets grow or shrink as the records increases or decrease. This method is also known as the dynamic hashing method.
This method makes hashing dynamic, i.e., it allows insertion or deletion without resulting in poor performance.

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