AbInitio interview questions – Top 10

  1. What is Ab Initio? This is an independent client/server application for business intelligence; it is not an add-on to other data systems. Ab Initio means “from the beginning”.
  2. What are the components of this application?  There is a Co>Operating system (the system’s engine), component library (which houses the functions), a graphical development environment (GDE) which is the workspace GUI, the enterprise Meta>Environment (EME) for data storage and manipulation, the data profiler (defines and evaluates request parameters) and Conduct>It (data processing tool). Only the GDE is on the client side.
  3. What are the advantages of Ab Initio? As a from-scratch application, the client is not bound to a monopolistic corporation such as Oracle or Microsoft. It has a great performance record. They offer support for the IBM OS/390 and SOAP/XML. The compressed file system allows very fast access and querying. Being a fresh product, it is easier to use than the older smoke-stack systems. The user GUI is user-friendly and allows for a visual method for building a request, called a graph..
  4. Disadvantages of Ab Initio?  The company is very secretive, which doesn’t allow analysts to evaluate it from the outside. Instead, potential clients must depend on evaluations by current clients. The program is expensive to license ($ half million). Because of the load, the server side needs its own hardware.
  5. Describe graph building.  The graph acts as a data flow diagram. So the user is actually programming the processes to be executed using a drag-and-drop workspace. After defining the flow, parameters are inserted for analysis. The graph is composed of technical metadata (parameters on the data itself) and enterprise metadata (about the business rules of the graph.) Graphs can be broken into phases which run serially; this affords the user time to verify and fine-tune the graph. Checkpoints function as bookmarks, to arrest the graph at a specific point without losing the previously-developed data.
  6. What is the sandbox?  This is the individual user’s personal workspace. The user can save graphs and related files; this allows for version control. Metadata can be separated and saved as being database-related, record formats, graphs, deployed scripts and transforms.
  7. What do departition components do?  They concatenate multiple flow partitions into a new one. The partitions are gathered, interleaved and merged.
  8. Discuss some miscellaneous components of Ab Initio that help the user.  The gather log collects the outputs from the log ports of other components that are needed for analysis after execution of a graph. Leading Records uploads the specified number of records to be moved from the in port to the out port. Replicate joins all the data records into a single file for processing. Generate Records makes a specified number of records according to parameters given.
  9. What is the relationship between partitions and joins?  The partition component separates the data by key into separate partitions. These partitions can then be joined to get to analyze data from both partitions using a different key. However, the user must be careful to do it properly to get the desired result.
  10. What is the difference between conventional and direct loading?  In a conventional load, the data is checked for the constraints before loading. In a direct load, the data is loaded without constraints, then later checked and indexed; this is faster. For any datawarehousing and reporting tools SQL is very important so you have to read our Top SQL job Interview Questions and Answers.

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