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Microsoft SQL Server logo

  • Published:
    June 11, 2012
  • Languages:
  • Audiences:
    IT professionals
  • Technology:
    Microsoft SQL Server 2014
  • Credit toward certification:

Transition Your MCITP: Database Administrator 2008 or MCITP: Database Developer 2008 to MCSE: Data Platform

This exam has been retired

For currently available options, please see the Microsoft Certification exam list.

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 on the exam. The higher the percentage, the more questions you are likely to see on that content area on 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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Starting May 15, 2014, the questions on this exam include content covering SQL Server 2014.

Implement database objects
  • Create and alter tables
    • Develop an optimal strategy for using temporary objects (table variables and temporary tables); manage a table without using triggers; data version control and management; create tables without using the built-in tools; understand the difference between @Table and #table; create calculated columns; implement partitioned tables, schemas, and functions; implement column collation; implement online transaction processing (OLTP)
  • Design, implement, and troubleshoot security
    • Grant, deny, revoke; connection issues; execute as; certificates; loginless user; database roles and permissions; implement contained users; implement cross db ownership chaining; implement schema security; implement server roles; review effective permissions; troubleshoot and repair orphaned users
  • Create and modify constraints (complex statements)
    • 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
  • Design and implement stored procedures
    • Create stored procedures and other programmatic objects; implement different types of stored procedure results; create stored procedures for data access layer; analyze and rewrite procedures and processes; program stored procedures by using T-SQL and CLR; implement parameters, including table-valued parameter, input, and output; implement encryption; implement error handling, including TRY…CATCH; configure appropriate connection settings, design appropriate query paging, including OFFSET and FETCH
  • 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 and alter views
    • Set up and configure partitioned tables and partitioned views; create indexed views

Preparation resources

Design database objects
  • Design tables
    • Apply data design patterns; develop appropriately normalized and de-normalized SQL tables; design transactions; design views; implement GUID as a clustered index appropriately; design temp tables appropriately, including # versus @; implement set-based logic; design an encryption strategy; design table partitioning; design a BLOB storage strategy, including filestream and filetable; design tables for In-Memory OLTP
  • Create and alter indexes
    • Create indexes and data structures; create filtered indexes; create an indexing strategy, including column store, semantic indexes, and INCLUDE; design indexes and statistics; assess which indexes on a table are likely to be used given different search arguments (SARG); create indexes that contain included columns; create spatial indexes
  • Design data integrity
    • Design table data integrity policy, including checks, private key, foreign key, uniqueness, XML schema, and nullability; select a primary key

Preparation resources

Optimize and troubleshoot queries
  • Optimize and tune queries
    • Tune a poorly performing query, including avoiding unnecessary data type conversions; identify long-running queries; review and optimize code; analyze execution plans to optimize queries; tune queries using execution plans and Microsoft Database Tuning Advisor (DTA); optimize queries using pivots and utilizing common table expressions (CTEs); design the database layout to optimize queries; implement query hints; tune query workloads; implement recursive CTE; implement full text and semantic search; analyze execution plans; implement plan guides
  • Troubleshoot and resolve performance problems
    • Interpret performance monitor data; integrate performance monitor data with SQL Traces; design an appropriate recovery model; optimize data files; identify and fix transactional replication problems; detect and resolve server failures; identify and troubleshoot data access problems; manage tempdb contention and autogrowth; implement Resource Governor; monitor and resolve In-Memory OLTP issues, including merge and garbage collection
  • 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; optimize Extended Event session settings; use Activity Monitor to minimize server impact and determine IO bottlenecks; monitor In-Memory OLTP resources

Preparation resources

Design database structure
  • Design for business requirements
    • Translate business needs to data structures; identify which SQL Server components to use to support business requirements; design a normalization area; de-normalize by using SQL Server features, including materialization using indexed views, distributed partitioned views, filtered and non-key column indexes, and snapshots
  • Design physical database and object placement
    • Design a physical database, including file placement, FILESTREAM, FILETABLE, file groups, and RAID; configure system database settings
  • Design SQL Server instances
    • Identify hardware for new instances; design CPU affinity; design clustered instances, including Microsoft Distributed Transaction Control (MSDTC); define instance memory allocation; design installation strategies, including sysprep, slipstream, and SMB file server; define cross db ownership chaining

Preparation resources

Design databases and database objects
  • Design a database model
    • Design a logical schema; design data access and data layer architecture; design a database schema; design security architecture; design a cross-server instance database model, including linked servers, security, providers, distributed transactions, distributed partitioned views, and Service Broker
  • Design tables
    • Design tables appropriately, including physical tables, temp tables, temp table variables, common table expressions, column store indexes, and user-defined table types; FILESTREAM, FILETABLE, and In-Memory OLTP; design views and table values functions; design a compression strategy, including row and page; select an appropriate data type; design computed columns
  • Design T-SQL stored procedures
    • Create stored procedures; design a data access strategy using stored procedures; design appropriate stored procedure parameters, including input, output, and Table Valued; design error handling; design an In-Memory OLTP strategy for stored procedures

Preparation resources

Design database security
  • Design an application strategy to support security
    • Design security, including security roles, signed stored procedures, encryption, contained logins, EXECUTE AS, and credentials; implement schemas and schema security; design security maintenance, including SQL logins, integrated authentication, permissions, and mirroring
  • Design instance-level security configurations
    • Implement separation of duties using different login roles; choose authentication type, including logon triggers, regulatory requirements, and certificates; implement data encryption, including master key and configuration; implement DDL triggers; define a secure service account

Preparation resources

Design a troubleshooting and optimization solution
  • Troubleshoot and resolve concurrency issues
    • Examine deadlocking issues using the SQL server logs and trace flags; design a reporting database infrastructure, including replicated databases; monitor concurrency, including Dynamic Management Views (DMV); diagnose blocking, including live locking and deadlocking; diagnose waits; use Extended Events; implement query hints to increase concurrency
  • Design a monitoring solution at the instance level
    • Design auditing strategies, including Extended Events, Event traces, SQL Audit, Profiler-scheduled or event-based maintenance, Performance Monitor, and DMV usage; set up file and table growth monitoring; collect performance indicators and counters; create jobs to monitor server health; audit using Windows Logs

Preparation resources

Who should take this exam?

This exam is intended for candidates who have already earned the MCITP: Database Administrator 2008 or MCITP: Database Developer 2008 certification, have completed the MCSA: SQL Server certification, and who wish to transition their skills to MCSE: Data Platform on SQL Server.

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Preparing for an exam

We recommend that you review this exam preparation guide in its entirety and familiarize 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 topics listed in the "Skills measured" section.