Data Compression in SQL Server 2008

Data compression is a new feature introduced in SQL Server 2008. It enables the DBA’s to effectively manage the MDF files and Backup files. There are two types of compressions,

1. Row Level Compression: This type of compression will work on the row level of the data page.

a. Operations like changing the fixed length datatype to Variable length data type. For instance, Char(10) is a fixed length datatype and If we store “Venkat” as data. The space occupied by this name is 6 and remaining 4 spaces will be wasted in the legacy system. Whereas, In SQL Server 2008, it is utilised effectively. Only 6 spaces will be given to this variable.
b. Removal of Null value and zeros. These values will not be stored in the disk. Instead, they will have a reference in the CI Structure.
c. Reduce the amount of metadata used to store the row.

2. Page Level Compression: This compression will be effective in the page level.

a. This compression follows Row Level Compression. On top of that, Page level compression will work.
b. Prefix Compression - This compression will work on the column level. Repeated data will be removed and a reference will be stored in the Compression information (CI) structure which is located next to the page header.
c. Dictionary Compression – This compression will be implemented as a whole on the page. It will remove all the repeated data and a reference will be placed on the page.

How it works:

Considering, If you a user is requesting for a data. In that case, Relational Engine will take care of getting the request compile, parse and it will request the data from the Storage engine.

Now, our data is in the compressed format. Storage engine will send the compressed data to the Buffer cache which in turn will take care of sending the data to relational engine in uncompressed format. Relational engine will do the modifications on the uncompressed data and it will send the same to buffer cache. Buffer cache will take care of compressing the data and have it for future use. In turn, it will send a copy to the Storage Engine.


1. More data will be stored in the Buffer cache. So, no need to go and search in the disk which inturn reduce the I/O.
2. Disk space is highly reduced.


1. More CPU cycles will be used to decompress the data.
2. It will be a negative impact, if the data doesn’t have more null values, zeros and compact/exact data (Equivalent to the declared data type).

Venkatesan Prabu .J

Indexing Table variables in SQL Server

Table variables is a very nice handy tool to store the result set. The major advantage of table variable is that, it will log a very minimal information in the temp database. Initially, I had a thoughts that table variable will reside only in the memory and it won’t interact with any of the database. But, it’s not the case. The data will reside in the temp database but logged very minimally. Index created on the table variables will reside in the tempdb.

Let’s see, how to create indexes on the table variable.

-- Temp table created

-- Trying to create an index on the column. It's throwing error.

-- Trying to alter the table variable. It's throwing error.

-- Here is an option to create the clustered index or primary key on the temp variable.Index on the table variable can be created during table variable creation itself.


-- We can query on the sys.indexes table to get the index details created on the table variable.

ON A.object_id=B.object_id ORDER BY create_date DESC

Venkatesan Prabu .J

My T-SQL Gallery @code.msdn.microsoft

Created my own T-SQL Gallery in Microsoft site. Do visit the same and share your feedback,


Thanks and Regards,
Venkatesan Prabu .J

SQL Server Interview questions - Part 1

What is the significance of NULL value and why should we avoid permitting null values?
Null means no entry has been made. It implies that the value is either unknown or undefined.We should avoid permitting null values because Column with NULL values can't have PRIMARY KEY constraints. Certain calculations can be inaccurate if NULL columns are involved.

What is SQL whats its uses and its component ?
The Structured Query Language (SQL) is foundation for all relational database systems. Most of the large-scale databases use the SQL to define all user and administrator interactions. It enable us to retrieve the data from based on our exact requirement. We will be given a flexibility to store the data in our own format.

The DML component of SQL comprises four basic statements:
* SELECT to get rows from tables
* UPDATE to update the rows of tables
* DELETE to remove rows from tables
* INSERT to add new rows to tables

What is DTS in SQL Server ?
Data Transformation Services is used to transfer the data from one source to our required destination. Considering am having some data in sql server and I need to transfer the data to Excel destination. Its highly possible with dialogue based tool called Data Transformation services. More customization can be achieved using SSIS. A specialized tool used to do such migration works.

What is the difference between SQL and Pl/Sql ?

Straight forward. SQL is a single statement to finish up our work.Considering, I need some data from a particular table. “Select * from table” will fetch the necessary information. Where as I need to do some row by row processing. In that case, we need to go for Procedural Logic / SQL.

What is the significance of NULL value and why should we avoid permitting null values?
Null means no entry has been made. It implies that the value is either unknown or undefined.We should avoid permitting null values because Column with NULL values can't have PRIMARY KEY constraints. Certain calculations can be inaccurate if NULL columns are involved.

Difference between primary key and Unique key?
Both constraints will share a common property called uniqueness. The data in the column should be unique. The basic difference is,
· Primary key won’t allow null value. Whereas, unique key will accept null value but only one null value.
· On creating primary key, it will automatically format the data inturn creates clustered index on the table. Whereas, this characteristics is not associated with unique key.
· Only one primary key can be created for the table. Any number of Unique key can be created for the table.

Select Statement in SQL Server

Select Statement in SQL Server

String Functions in sql server

String Functions in sql server

SQL Server Interview Question - Part 2

What is normalization?

Normalization is the basic concept used in designing a database. Its nothing but, an advise given to the database to have minimal repetition of data, highly structured, highly secured, easy to retrieve. In high level definition, the Process of organizing data into tables is referred to as normalization.

What is a stored procedure:
Stored procedures are precompiled T-SQL statements combined to perform a single task of several tasks. Its basically like a Macro so when you invoke the Stored procedure, you actually run a set of statements. As, its precompiled statement, execution of Stored procedure is compatatively high when compared to an ordinary T-SQL statement.

What is the difference between UNION ALL Statement and UNION ?
The main difference between UNION ALL statement and UNION is UNION All statement is much faster than UNION,the reason behind this is that because UNION ALL statement does not look for duplicate rows, but on the other hand UNION statement does look for duplicate rows, whether or not they exist.

Example for Stored Procedure?
They are three kinds of stored procedures,1.System stored procedure – Start with sp_2. User defined stored procedure – SP created by the user.3. Extended stored procedure – SP used to invoke a process in the external systems.Example for system stored proceduresp_helpdb - Database and its propertiessp_who2 – Gives details about the current user connected to your system. sp_renamedb – Enable you to rename your database

What is a trigger?

Triggers are precompiled statements similar to Stored Procedure. It will automatically invoke for a particular operation. Triggers are basically used to implement business rules.

What is a view?
If we have several tables in a db and we want to view only specific columns from specific tables we can go for views. It would also suffice the needs of security some times allowing specfic users to see only specific columns based on the permission that we can configure on the view. Views also reduce the effort that is required for writing queries to access specific columns every time.

What is an Index?
When queries are run against a db, an index on that db basically helps in the way the data is sorted to process the query for faster and data retrievals are much faster when we have an index.

What are the types of indexes available with SQL Server?

There are basically two types of indexes that we use with the SQL ServerClustered -

1. It will format the entire table, inturn physically sort the table.

2. Only one clustered index can be created for a table.

3. Data will be located in the leaf level.

4. By default, primary key will create clustered index on the table.

Non-Clustered Index

1. It wont touch the structure of the table.

2. It forms an index table as reference to the exact data.

3. A reference to the data will be located in the leaf level.

4. For a table, we can create 249 non clustered index.

Happy Learning!!!
Venkatesan Prabu .J

SQL Interview question

Extent Vs Page?

Pages are low level unit to store the exact data in sql server. Basically, the data will be stored in the mdf, ldf, ndf files. Inturn, pages are logical units available in sql server.The size of the page is 8KB.

Eight consecutive pages will form an extent 8 * 8KB = 64KB.

Thus I/O level operation will be happening at pages level.The pages will hold a template information at the start of each page (header of the page).

They are,

1. page number,

2. page type,

3. the amount of free space on the page,

4. the allocation unit ID of the object that owns the page.

Extents will be classifed into two types,

1. Uniform extents

2. Mixed extents

Uniform Extents:It occupied or used by a single object. Inturn, a single object will hold the entire 8 pages.Mixed

Extents:Mulitple objects will use the same extent. SQL Server will allow a max of eight objects to use a shared extent.

Property of SQL Server :Initally if an object is created, sql server will allocate the object to the mixed extent and once if the size reaches 8 pages and more... immediately, a new uniform extent will be provided for that particular object.

Herecomes, our fragmentation and reindexing concepts.

Best Joke - Enjoy it

Best Joke - Enjoy it