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  • Published:
    11 June 2012
  • Languages:
    English, Chinese (Simplified), French, German, Japanese, Portuguese (Brazil)
  • Audiences:
    IT professionals
  • Technology:
    Microsoft SQL Server
  • Credit towards certification:

Developing Microsoft SQL Server Databases

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Developing Microsoft SQL Server Databases

Skills measured

This exam measures your ability to accomplish the technical tasks listed below. The percentages indicate the relative weight of each major topic area in the exam. The higher the percentage, the more questions you are likely to see on that content area in the exam. View video tutorials about the variety of question types on Microsoft exams.

Please note that the questions may test on, but will not be limited to, the topics described in the bulleted text.

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As of 18 February 2016, this exam includes content covering both SQL Server 2012 and 2014. Please note that this exam does not include questions on features or capabilities that are present only in the SQL Server 2012 product. For more information, please download and review this document.

Implement database objects (30–35%)
  • Create and alter tables
    • Develop an optimal strategy for using temporary objects, including table variables and temporary tables; define alternatives to triggers; define data version control and management; implement @Table and #table appropriately; create calculated columns; implement partitioned tables, schemas and functions; implement column collation; implement online transaction processing (OLTP); implement columnstore and sparse columns
  • Design, implement and troubleshoot security
    • Implement data control language statements appropriately, troubleshoot connection issues, implement execute as statements, implement certificate-based security, create loginless users, define appropriate database roles and permissions, implement contained users, implement cross db ownership chaining, implement schema security, implement server roles
  • Design the locking granularity level
    • Choose the right lock mechanism for a given task; handle deadlocks; design index locking properties; fix locking and blocking issues; analyse a deadlock scenario; design appropriate isolation level, including Microsoft ActiveX data objects defaults; design for locks and lock escalation; design transactions that minimise locking; reduce locking contention; identify bottlenecks in data design; design appropriate concurrency control, such as pessimistic or optimistic
  • Implement indexes
    • Inspect physical characteristics of indexes and perform index maintenance; identify unused indexes; implement indexes; optimise indexes, including full, filter, statistics and force
  • Implement data types
    • Select appropriate data types, including BLOBs, GUIDs, XML and spatial data; develop a Common Language Runtime (CLR) data type; implement appropriate use of @Table and #table; determine values based on implicit and explicit conversions
  • Create and modify constraints
    • Create constraints on tables, define constraints, modify constraints according to performance implications, implement cascading deletes, configure constraints for bulk inserts

Preparation resources

Implement programming objects (15-20%)
  • Design and implement stored procedures
    • Create stored procedures and other programmatic objects; implement different types of stored procedure results; create a stored procedure for the data access layer; analyse and rewrite procedures and processes; program stored procedures by using T-SQL and CLR; implement parameters, including table valued, input and output; implement error handling, including TRY…CATCH; configure appropriate connection settings
  • Design T-SQL table-valued and scalar functions
    • Modify scripts that use cursors and loops into a SET-based operation, design deterministic and non-deterministic functions
  • Create, use and alter user-defined functions (UDFs)
    • Implement deterministic or non-deterministic functions; implement CROSS APPLY by using UDFs; implement CLR functions
  • Create and alter views
    • Set up and configure partitioned tables and partitioned views; create indexed views

Preparation resources

Design database objects (25–30%)
  • Design tables
    • Apply data design patterns; develop appropriately normalised and de-normalised SQL tables; design transactions; design views; implement GUID as a clustered index appropriately; design temp tables appropriately, including # vs. @; design an encryption strategy; design table partitioning; design a BLOB storage strategy, including filestream and filetable; design tables for In-Memory OLTP
  • Design for concurrency
    • Develop a strategy to maximise concurrency; define a locking and concurrency strategy; design a transaction isolation strategy, including server database and session; design triggers for concurrency
  • Design indexes
    • Design indexes and data structures; design filtered indexes; design an indexing strategy, including column store, semantic indexes and INCLUDE; design statistics; assess which indexes on a table are likely to be used, given different search arguments (SARG); design spatial and XML indexes
  • Design data integrity
    • Design a table data integrity policy, including checks, primary key, foreign key, uniqueness, XML schema and nullability; select a primary key
  • Design for implicit and explicit transactions
    • Manage transactions; ensure data integrity by using transactions; manage distributed transaction escalations; design savepoints; design error handling for transactions, including TRY, CATCH and THROW

Preparation resources

Optimise and troubleshoot queries (25–30%)
  • Optimise and tune queries
    • Tune a poorly performing query, including avoiding unnecessary data-type conversions; identify long-running queries; review and optimise code; analyse execution plans to optimise queries; tune queries using execution plans and Microsoft Database Tuning Advisor (DTA); optimise queries using pivots and common table expressions (CTE); design database layout to optimise queries; implement query hints; tune query workloads; implement recursive CTE; implement full text and semantic search; analyse execution plans; implement plan guides
  • Troubleshoot and resolve performance problems
    • Interpret performance monitor data; integrate performance monitor data with SQL Traces
  • Optimise indexes
    • Develop an optimal strategy for clustered indexes; analyse index usage; optimise indexes for workload, including data warehousing and OLTP; generate appropriate indexes and statistics by using INCLUDE columns; create filtered indexes; implement full-text indexing; implement columnstore indexes; optimise online index maintenance
  • Capture and analyse execution plans
    • Collect and read execution plans, create an index based on an execution plan, batch or split implicit transactions, split large queries, consolidate smaller queries, review and optimise parallel plans
  • Collect performance and system information
    • Monitor performance using Dynamic Management Views, collect output from the Database Engine Tuning Advisor, design Extended Events Sessions, review and interpret Extended Event logs; optimise Extended Event session settings, use Activity Monitor to minimise server impact and determine IO bottlenecks, monitor In-Memory OLTP resources

Preparation resources

Preparation options

Instructor-led training
Exam prep video

Microsoft Certification PREP Talk: Exam 464

In this episode of Prep tips from certification experts, James Seymour, Certification Planner, and Dandy Weyn, Senior Program Manager in the SQL Server product group, discuss the relevancy of the skills being measured in Exam 464.

Self-paced training

Developing Microsoft SQL Server Databases

This course helps you prepare for Exam 70-464. Experts take you through tables, indexes, stored procedures and other database objects. Learn about techniques for designing indexes, managing transactions and optimising performance and concurrency. Troubleshooting tips and best practices are also presented.

Practice test

Take a Microsoft Official Practice Test for Exam 464

From the community

Exam 70-464 wiki

Exam 70-464 forum

Who should take this exam?

This exam is intended for database professionals who build and implement databases across organisations and who ensure high levels of data availability. Their responsibilities include creating database files, data types and tables; planning, creating and optimising indexes; ensuring data integrity; implementing views, stored procedures and functions; and managing transactions and locks.

More information about exams

Preparing for an exam

We recommend that you review this exam preparation guide in its entirety and familiarise yourself with the resources on this website before you schedule your exam. See the Microsoft Certification exam overview for information about registration, videos of typical exam question formats and other preparation resources. For information on exam policies and scoring, see the Microsoft Certification exam policies and FAQs.


This preparation guide is subject to change at any time without prior notice and at the sole discretion of Microsoft. Microsoft exams might include adaptive testing technology and simulation items. Microsoft does not identify the format in which exams are presented. Please use this preparation guide to prepare for the exam, regardless of its format. To help you prepare for this exam, Microsoft recommends that you have hands-on experience with the product and that you use the specified training resources. These training resources do not necessarily cover all of the topics listed in the "Skills measured" section.