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

Designing Database Solutions for Microsoft SQL Server

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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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As of February 18, 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.

Design a database structure (25–30%)
  • Design for business requirements
    • Translate business needs to data structures; de-normalize a database 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 a table and index partitioning strategy
    • Develop the optimal strategy for indexing, archive using partitions and tables, design columnstore indexes, design XML indexes
  • Design a migration, consolidation, and upgrade strategy
    • Upgrade with minimal downtime; design a cross-cluster migration; plan a database deployment, including Windows PowerShell, Server Core, and contained databases; migrate query plans; design a migration strategy using Distributed Replay Controller; design a SQL Server virtualization strategy
  • Design SQL Server instances
    • Identify hardware for new instances; design CPU affinity; design clustered instances using Microsoft Distributed Transaction Control (MSDTC); define instance memory allocation; design installation strategies, including sysprep, slipstream, and SMB file server; define cross db ownership chaining
  • Design backup and recovery
    • Design a backup strategy based on business needs, including differential, file, log, and striped; design a database snapshot strategy; design appropriate recovery models; design a system database backup strategy; recover Tail-Log backups

Preparation resources

Design databases and database objects (30–35%)
  • Design a database model
    • Design a logical schema; design a data access and data layer architecture; design a database schema; design a 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, columnstore indexes, user defined table types, FILESTREAM, FILETABLE, and In-Memory OLTP; design views and table valued functions; design a compression strategy, including row and page; select an appropriate data type; design computed columns
  • Design for concurrency
    • Develop a strategy to maximize concurrency; define a locking and concurrency strategy; design a transaction isolation strategy, including server database and session; design triggers for concurrency
  • 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
  • Design a management automation strategy
    • Create a data archiving solution; design automation and auditing, including jobs, alerts, operators, SSIS, CDC, auditing, DDL triggers, and Windows PowerShell; automate across multiple databases and instances; design data batch processing: design a database load test; deploy to different environments, including development, staging, and production
  • Design for transactions
    • Manage transactions, including time, savepoint, and mark; design for implicit and explicit transactions; ensure data integrity by using transactions; design error handling for transactions, including TRY, CATCH, and THROW

Preparation resources

Design database security (10–15%)
  • 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 database, schema, and object security permissions
    • Design a database schema that meets security requirements, schema ownership, ownership chaining, cross database chaining
  • Design instance-level security configurations
    • Implement separation of duties using different login roles; choose an authentication type, including logon triggers, regulatory requirements, and certificates; implement data encryption, including database master key and configuration; implement Data Description Language (DDL) triggers; define a secure service account

Preparation resources

Design a troubleshooting and optimization solution (25–30%)
  • Design a maintenance strategy for database servers
    • Design maintenance plans; design index maintenance, including rebuild, defragmentation, statistics, online rebuilds, offline rebuilds, and thresholds; maintain physical and logical consistency (DBCC); manage database files, including LDF, MDF, In-Memory OLTP, and garbage collection; define a retention policy
  • Troubleshoot and resolve concurrency issues
    • Examine deadlocking issues using 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 and implement a high availability solution
    • Configure failover clustering, including multi-subnet; design readable mirrors; create a highly available configuration with low recovery time; design and ensure uptime requirements, including monitoring and patching; design and implement a replication architecture; implement AlwaysOn Availability Groups and AlwaysOn failover clusters
  • Design a solution to monitor performance and concurrency
    • Identify performance monitor counters; monitor for performance and bottlenecks, including Wait Stats; design a query monitoring and review strategy; monitor for missing statistics
  • 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

Preparation options

Instructor-led training
Find a Microsoft Learning Partner near you
Exam prep video

Microsoft Certification PREP Talk: Exam 465

In this episode of Prep tips from certification experts, James Seymour, Content Publishing Manager, and Mike Corkery, MCT, MVP, discuss the relevancy of the skills being measured on Exam 465.

Self-paced training

Designing Database Solutions for SQL Server

This course helps you prepare for Exam 70-465. A team of experts walks you through key design considerations and recommendations for SQL Server data solutions. Take a look at managing a SQL Server environment, and learn about helpful tools. Explore database security, backup and recovery solutions, and high availability. Database troubleshooting and maintenance are covered as well.

From the community

Exam 70-465 wiki

Exam 70-465 forum

Follow @MSLearning and @sqlserver

Who should take this exam?

This exam is intended for database professionals who design and build database solutions in the organization. They are responsible for the creation of plans and designs for database structure, storage, objects, and servers. They create the plan for the environment in which the database solution runs.

More information about exams

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 of the topics listed in the "Skills measured" section.