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Preparation Hints

Exam Objectives

The exam objectives are broken up into four different categories. The 70-464 exam measures your ability to accomplish the technical tasks listed below.

The percentages indicate the relative weight of each major topic area on the exam. The higher the percentage, the more questions you are likely to see on that content area on the exam.

The objectives for Exam 70-464 as stated by Microsoft are as follows:

Implement Database Objects (31%)

  • Create and alter tables (complex statements).
  • This objective may include but is not limited to: develop an optimal strategy for using temporary objects (table variables and temporary tables); how not to rely on triggers solely as a means to manage a table; data version control and management; create tables without using the built in tools; understand the difference between @Table and #table

  • Design, implement, and troubleshoot security.
  • This objective may include but is not limited to: grant, deny, revoke; unable to connect; execute as; certificates; loginless user; database roles and permissions; contained users; change permission chains

  • Design the locking granularity level.
  • This objective may include but is not limited to: choose the right lock mechanism for a given task, handling and/or avoiding deadlocks; fix locking and blocking issues caused by previous development or third-party apps; analyze a deadlock scenario to alleviate the issue; impact of isolation level and ado defaults; impact of locks and lock escalation; reduce locking scenarios; how isolation levels affect blocking and locking; identify bottlenecks in the data design and improve

  • Maintain indexes.
  • This objective may include but is not limited to: inspect physical characteristics of indexes and perform index maintenance; identify fragmented indexes; identify unused indexes; implement indexes; defrag/rebuild indexes; set up a maintenance strategy for indexes and statistics; optimize indexes (full, filter index); statistics (full, filter) force or fix queue; when to rebuild versus reorg and index; create a tuning and maintenance strategy for proactive operations

  • Implement data types.
  • This objective may include but is not limited to: use appropriate data types; develop a CLR data type; understand the difference between @Table and #table; impact of GUID (newid, newsequentialid) on database performance, indexing and privacy; use spatial data; LOB data types; understand when and how to use column store and sparse columns; implicit and explicit conversions, integer math

  • Create and modify constraints (complex statements).
  • This objective may include but is not limited to: create constraints on tables; define constraints; performance implications

  • Work with XML Data.
  • This objective may include but is not limited to: implement XML; use XML (Query, Input, Output); transform XML data into relational data; retrieve relational data as XML; FOR XML; design a strategy to transform XML into relational data; design a strategy to query and modify XML data; understand xml data types and their schemas and interoperability, limitations, and restrictions; implement XML schemas and handling of XML data; how to handle it in SQL Server and when and when not to use it, including XML namespaces; import and export XML

Implement Programming Objects (21%)

  • Write automation scripts.
  • This objective may include but is not limited to: automate backup testing; shrink file; check index fragmentation; archive data; run an SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) job; check disk space; automate backups

  • Design and implement stored procedures.
  • This objective may include but is not limited to: create stored procedures and other programmatic objects; techniques for developing stored procedures; different types of stored procedure results; create stored procedure for data access layer; analyze and rewrite procedures and processes; program stored procedures, with T-SQL and CLR#; use table valued parameters; encryption

  • Design T-SQL table-valued and scalar functions.
  • This objective may include but is not limited to: ensure code non regression by keeping consistent signature for procedure, views and function (interfaces); turn scripts that use cursors and loops into a SET based operation

  • Create, use, and alter user-defined functions (UDFs).
  • This objective may include but is not limited to: understand deterministic, non-deterministic functions; using cross apply with UDFs; Common Language Runtime (CLR)

  • Create and alter views (complex statements).
  • This objective may include but is not limited to: set up and configure partitioned tables and partitioned views; design a best practice for using views and stored procedures and remove the direct usage of tables

Design Database Objects (24%)

  • Design tables.
  • This objective may include but is not limited to: data design patterns; develop normalized and de-normalized SQL tables; understand the difference between physical tables, temp tables, temp table variables and common table expressions; design transactions; design views; describe advantages / disadvantages of using a GUID as a clustered index; understand performance implications of # versus @ temp tables and how to decide which to use, when and why; use of set based rather than row based logic; encryption (other than TDE); table partitioning; filestream and filetable

  • Design for concurrency.
  • This objective may include but is not limited to: develop a strategy to minimize concurrency; handle concurrency to minimize locking and eliminate as much blocking as possible, and to avoid deadlocks; manage the transactions to limit the time to hold lock and have fast transactions (maximize concurrency); define locking and concurrency strategy; impact of read committed snapshot/snapshot isolation; understand what it solves and what it costs

  • Create and alter indexes.
  • This objective may include but is not limited to: create indexes and data structures; create filtered indexes; create an indexing strategy; design and optimize indexes; design indexes and statistics; assess which indexes on a table are likely to be used given different search arguments (SARG); column store indexes; semantic indexes

  • Design data integrity.
  • This objective may include but is not limited to: design table data integrity policy (checks, private key/foreign key, uniqueness, XML schema); select a primary key; data usage patterns

  • Design for implicit and explicit transactions.
  • This objective may include but is not limited to: manage transactions; use transactions in code; ensure data integrity by using transactions; use transactions inside the database using T-SQL and from the "outside" via C#/VB; distributed transaction escalation

Optimize and Troubleshoot Queries (24%)

  • Optimize and tune queries.
  • This objective may include but is not limited to: tune a badly performing query; identify long running queries; review and optimize code; analyze execution plans to optimize queries; tune a query that is poorly written; tune queries using execution plans and database tuning advisor (DTA); design advanced queries: pivots, utilizing common table expressions (CTE), design the database layout and optimize queries (for speed and/or data size); understand different data types; basic knowledge of query hints; tune query workloads, using realistic data sets not being production data sets ; demonstrate use of recursive CTE; full text search; control execution plans

  • Troubleshoot and resolve performance problems.
  • This objective may include but is not limited to: interpret performance monitor data; impact of recovery modal on database size, and recovery. How to clean up if .MDF and .LDF files get to large; identify and fix transactional replication problems; detect and resolve server hung, failure; identify and troubleshoot data access problems

  • Optimize indexing strategies.
  • This objective may include but is not limited to: develop optimal strategy for clustered indexes; analyze index usage; know the difference between the type of indexes and when to choose one over the other; optimize indexing for data warehousing vs. optimize Indexing for Online Transaction Processing (OLTP); generate appropriate indexes and statistics with include columns; apply effective and efficient indexes, including the use of INCLUDE lists; full-text indexing

  • Capture and analyze execution plans.
  • This objective may include but is not limited to: collect and read execution plan; review an execution plan to spot potential performance issues; read an execution plan; create an index based on an execution plan; row-based logic versus. set-based logic, batching, splitting implicit transactions

  • Collect performance and system information.
  • This objective may include but is not limited to: use Data Management Views to determine performance issues; from system metadata; gather trace information by using the SQL Server Profiler; develop monitoring strategy for production database; run a profiler trace and analyze the results; run profiler for troubleshooting application; collect output from the Database Engine Tuning Advisor; extended events

Where to Go from Here

After you pass the Developing Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Databases exam, you may want to take the following exams:

  • Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012 (70-461)
  • Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2012 (70-462)
  • Implementing a Data Warehouse with Microsoft SQL Server 2012 (70-463)
  • Designing Database Solutions for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 (70-465)
  • Implementing Data Models and Reports with Microsoft SQL Server 2012 (70-466)
  • Designing Business Intelligence Solutions with Microsoft SQL Server 2012 (70-467)
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