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SQL Server Interview Questions for a Network Administrator


By:   |   Last Updated: 2009-01-21   |   Comments   |   Related Tips: More > Professional Development Interview Questions DBA

Problem

At our organization many folks wear a variety of hats, because we have a small and talented team.  Although we have a SQL Server DBA, our Network Administrator also takes care of some of the SQL Server related tasks in our environment.  We are looking to grow our team and we are interested in finding out what a reasonable set of questions would be for Network Administrator candidates that also state that they can support SQL Server.  Do you have any suggestions?

Solution

Trying to assess any technical person's skill set can be difficult.  An interview process with appropriate questions for your environment and the correct skill set are key.  In some respects understanding what a candidate knows and does not know, could be equally beneficial.  What is meant by that is you want to know what knowledge someone has on day one and what you will need to teach them overtime.  As such, here are a baseline set of questions with the answers intentionally hidden.  Once you have formulated your answer go ahead and highlight the answer to see how you have done.  Good luck!

Backup and Restore

  • Question 1 - What are all of the backup options and their associated value?
    • Full - Online operation to backup all objects and data in a single database
    • Differential - Backup all extents with data changes since the last full backup
    • Transaction log - Backup all transaction in the database transaction log since the last transaction log backup
    • File - Backup of a single file to be included with the backup when a full backup is not possible due to the overall database size
    • File group - Backup of a single file group to be included with the backup when a full backup is not possible due to the overall database size
    • Cold backup - Offline file system backup of the databases
    • Third party tools - A variety of third party tools are available to perform the operations above in addition to enterprise management, advanced features, etc.
  • Question 2 - What high availability options are available with SQL Server and what sort of functionality do they provide?

SQL Server Integration Services

Troubleshooting

  • Question 1 - What are some of the tools that you use to troubleshoot a SQL Server issue?
  • Question 2 - How do you troubleshoot a SQL Server performance problem?
    • Review management software for the hardware, SAN, NAS, tape library, etc. for any hardware related failures
    • Review System Monitor for CPU, Memory, IO, etc issues
    • Coordinate with the DBAs on tools like Profiler, DMVs, etc.

Security

  • Question 1 - As a Network Administrator, which components of SQL Server do you want to secure?
    • File system
    • File shares
    • Backups
    • Windows service accounts and associated rights
    • Local administrator rights
    • Windows Security log
    • SQL Server 2008 audit logs
    • Third party audit logs
      • Additional information:
  • Question 2 - As a Network Administrator, how can you help to prevent a SQL Injection attack?
    • Review firewall and web server logs for potential threats
    • Prevent particular strings from passing through the firewall
    • Prevent IP traffic from particular web sites
    • Implement technology to scan your public facing web sites for potential issues

Hardware

  • Question 1 - In general, how would you design the drive layout for a SQL Server?
    • Setup RAID arrays for the following sub systems:
      • Windows and System Databases (Master, Model, MSDB TempDB)
      • User Defined Databases
        • Database File groups
          • Primary
          • Indexes
          • Data - Read\Write
          • Data - Read-only
          • Data - Specific tables
      • Database Transaction Logs
      • Backups
      • Full Text Catalogs
      • Batch Processing
    • Additional information: Hard Drive Configurations for SQL Server
  • Question 2 - What are some of the hardware advances that can benefit SQL Server?
Next Steps
  • To the interviewers:
    • As you prepare for the interview, be sure to ask questions pertinent to your environment.  The more you ask questions related to your environment the higher probability the candidate will be able to hit the ground running and benefit the organization.
  • To the interviewees:
    • As you prepare for the interview, be sure to understand what the organization needs and how you can be of assistance.


Last Updated: 2009-01-21


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About the author
MSSQLTips author Jeremy Kadlec Since 2002, Jeremy Kadlec has delivered value to the global SQL Server community as an MSSQLTips.com co-founder and Edgewood Solutions SQL Server Consultant.

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