Most Popular question asked during the interview….
Here are some answers in no particular order.
1.“Truncate is fast, delete is slow”. Hmmm, well that’s mostly true I guess. The most basic or all answers.
2.“Truncate is DDL, delete is DML”. Is this just so obvious that people don’t mention it?
3.“You can’t rollback a truncate”. Indeed. See 2 above, of course. And 1.
4.“Truncate is implicitly a commit”. A better answer than 3 I think. I seem to recall that someone once mentioned that there are actually two commits in a truncate, one before and one after … but maybe I dreamed that. I should test it really.
5.“You can’t grant permission to truncate a table”. Ah, practical experience shines through. If you don’t like your ETL process to connect as the owner of the schema then this is a challenge that has to be overcome with stored procedures or something sophisticated like that. You really don’t want to grant “DROP ANY TABLE” to your ETL user.
6.“You can delete any subset of rows, but you can only truncate the complete table, or a partition or subpartition of it”. Is this also so obvious that nobody mentions it?
7.“Truncate makes unusable indexes usable again”. A real gotcha for the unwary. If you attempt to optimise a data load by rendering indexes unusable and truncating a table (possibly followed by an index rebuild and a partition exchange) then be careful of the order.
8.“Truncate can’t maintain foreign keys”. It’s “cascading delete”, not “cascading truncate”. That would be an interesting feature though — point 4 above would make it a little trickier. Truncating an index cluster is pretty close to a “cascading truncate” to a limited extent though. In any case no truncate is permitted on a table referenced by foreign keys.
9.“You can’t flashback a truncate”. This is an oddity to me. We can flashback a “drop table”, rollback uncommited deletes, or use flashback to recover pre-commit deleted data, but a truncate is a barrier across which we cannot flashback.
10.“Truncate deallocates space, delete doesn’t”. Unless you want it not to, using the “reuse storage” clause. However the high water mark is reset in either case so maybe that’s a better answer …
11.“Truncate resets the high water mark, delete doesn’t”. And on the indexes, also. See 7 above also.
12.“Truncate allows special treatment of materialized view logs”. More of that practical experience and/or documentation-reading skill shows through.
13.“DML triggers do not fire on a truncate”. Because … um … it’s DDL not DML.