Azure Databricks Interview Questions

Did You Know?

  • Azure Databricks is the newest big data tool available on the Microsoft Azure.
  • Azure Databricks uses generative AI with the data lakehouse to understand the unique semantics of your data.
  • Azure Databricks offers businesses a platform for teamwork when working with big data, data scientists, data analysts, and machine learning experts.


If you check data engineering job descriptions, you will find the huge influence of cloud practices and the presence of Azure Databricks. If you want to become an employable data engineer, you must prepare yourself for the Azure Databricks interview questions. This interview preparation guide has been precisely designed to help you understand the questions you can expect from the concept of Azure Databricks.

Azure Databricks Interview Questions for Freshers

1. What is Azure Databricks?

Azure Databricks is a cloud-based big data analytics and processing platform provided by Microsoft Azure. It simplifies the process of building, managing, and scaling big data analytics and machine learning workflows in the Azure cloud infrastructure. Among data engineers, this tool has become a popular choice for processing and transforming large amounts of data because it combines the flexibility of cloud computing with the analytics prowess of Apache Spark in one space.

2. Name some programming languages that are used while working with Azure Databricks.

Programming languages used while working with Azure Databricks include Python, R, Scala, and Java. Besides these programming languages, Azure Databricks also supports the SQL database language. 

The deep learning frameworks like TensorFlow, PyTorch, and sci-kit-learn are also supported, along with the APIs such as Spark, PySpark, SparkR, SparklE,, etc.

3. What is a data plane?

The term “data plane” refers to the area of the computer network that handles data processing and storage. This package contains the Databricks filesystem in addition to the Apache Hive megastore.

4. What is a management plane?

The layer of infrastructure and services in Azure Databricks that oversees and manages the Databricks environment is the management plane. Azure Databricks’ management plane is responsible for managing workspace operations, security, monitoring, and cluster configuration.

5. What is reserved capacity in Azure?

Azure reserved capacity offers discounted prices compared to pay-as-you-go pricing, allowing you to save money by committing upfront to a certain quantity of resources for one or three years. It works well for workloads that are predictable and is available for services including virtual machines (VMs), Azure SQL Database, and Cosmos DB.

Reserved Capacity in Azure

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6. How does Azure Databricks differ from traditional Apache Spark?

Azure Databricks is built ground-up from Apache Spark and uses the flexibility of Azure Cloud to handle huge datasets seamlessly.  It is a cloud-based and high-level version of Apache Spark that is easier to use. It comes with built-in teamwork tools and security features. Unlike Apache Spark, Databricks easily works with other Azure services, sets up quickly, and adjusts to your needs automatically. This makes it simpler to create and launch big data projects and machine learning in the cloud.

7. What are the main components of Azure Databricks?

The main components of Azure Databricks include:

Azure Databricks

  • Collaborative Workspace: A shared, online environment where teams can work together on data projects
  • Managed Infrastructure: Cloud-based computing resources and services that are automatically provisioned, scaled, and managed by the platform
  • Spark: A fast and distributed open-source processing engine for big data analytics, ideal for processing large datasets and running complex data transformations
  • Delta: An open-source storage layer that brings ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, and Durability) transactions to Apache Spark and enables scalable, reliable, and performant data lakes 
  • MLflow: An open-source platform to manage the end-to-end machine learning lifecycle, facilitating collaboration among data scientists and engineers
  • SQL Analytics: A unified analytics platform that allows users to query and analyze data using familiar SQL syntax

8. Describe the various components that make up Azure Synapse Analytics.

Azure Synapse Analytics combines the following elements:

  • SQL Data Warehouse: A distributed data warehouse system with a high capacity for relational data analysis and storage
  • Apache Spark: A quick, in-memory data processing tool for machine learning and big data analytics
  • Azure Data Lake Storage: A safe, scalable option for massive data storage in data lakes
  • Azure Data Factory: An automated and orchestrated data process solution

Power BI: A business analytics application that helps you share and visualize data-driven insights

9. Explain the concept of a Databricks workspace.

A workspace is a place where you can use all of your Databricks resources. A workspace gives users access to data objects and computational resources while categorizing items (such as notebooks, libraries, dashboards, and experiments) into folders.

10. Give some advantages of Azure Databricks.

The advantages of Azure Databricks are as follows:

 Advantages of Azure Databricks

  • Collaborative Environment: It offers a setting that facilitates teamwork and knowledge sharing between various initiatives.
  • Scalability: It can manage heavy analytics and data processing workloads. Hence, it is perfect for businesses handling large amounts of data.
  • Time-to-Value: It helps businesses accelerate their data analytics efforts by offering pre-built templates and integrations. 
  • Security: It has strong security features, including data encryption, network isolation, and role-based access control. This helps businesses protect sensitive data.

11. Why is it important to use the DBU Framework?

The DBU (Data, Business, User) Framework is essential for effective design and development, ensuring a comprehensive approach. It helps us cover all the bases in design and development. From keeping data in check to making sure our business goals and what users want are all in sync. With this framework, decisions are easier, and users have a much better time.

12. What does 'auto-scale' mean in the context of Azure Databricks when it comes to a cluster of nodes?

“Auto-scaling” refers to the ability of a cluster to automatically adjust the number of worker nodes based on the workload or the amount of data being processed. This feature helps optimize the cluster’s performance and cost efficiency by adding or removing worker nodes as needed.

When auto-scaling is enabled for a Databricks cluster, the cluster manager continuously monitors the workload and resources. If the workload increases, the cluster can automatically add more worker nodes to handle the load. Conversely, when the workload decreases, the cluster can remove unnecessary worker nodes to save on costs.

Cluster Auto-scaling

13. What should one do when he’s facing issues with Azure Databricks?

If someone faces any issues with Azure Databricks, they must start by looking at the Databricks documentation. This documentation includes almost all the potential issues with their solutions that one might face while working with Azure Databricks. If it is difficult to tackle a challenge by reading the documentation, one can also contact the support team of Azure Databricks.

14. Explain the function of the Databricks File System.

The Databricks File System (DBFS) is a distributed file system that provides a unified storage layer for data in Azure Databricks. It allows users to easily access and share files across clusters, notebooks, and jobs, providing a scalable and reliable way to manage data for analytics and machine learning tasks.

Here’s the architecture of the Databricks File System:

In this system, there’s a main leader called the Driver who starts and controls the tasks. The jobs are split into stages to do different parts of the work at the same time, making things faster. Executors, shown as colored boxes, get tasks from the Driver and do them all together. Once each stage is done, it tells the Driver the results. Then, the Driver can use those results to do more work. This way, lots of tasks can be done at once across the cluster, making everything run smoothly and quickly.

15. Is it possible to manage Databricks using PowerShell?

No, it is not possible to manage Databricks using PowerShell, as it does not support it. However, there are other methods available, such as CLI, APIs, etc. 

16. Differentiate between Databricks instances and clusters.

A Databricks instance refers to the entire Databricks environment, including workspaces, clusters, and other resources. Clusters, on the other hand, are specific computational resources within a Databricks instance used for processing data.

17. What do you understand by the term “control plane”?

The control plane refers to the management plane, where Databricks operates the workspace application and manages configuration, notebooks, libraries, and clusters. In Databricks, the workspace application for managing notebooks, setups, and clusters is located on the control plane, which also acts as the administration center. Users engage with Databricks in this manner to design, track, and modify their analytical processes. It offers a centralized, user-friendly platform for data engineering and analytics work.

18. Can we use Databricks along with Azure Notebooks?

Yes, you can use Databricks along with Azure Notebooks. One can use Azure Databricks for making and managing source code files and then transferring them to Azure Notebooks.

19. Name different types of clusters present in Azure Databricks.

The different types of clusters present in Azure Databricks are:

  • Single-Node Clusters: These clusters are ideal for learning the Databricks environment, testing code, and creating small-scale data processing solutions because they only have one machine.
  • Multi-Node Clusters: Multi-node clusters are intended for managing massive data, analyzing large amounts of data, and executing intricate algorithms. 
  • Auto-Scaling Clusters: Multi-node clusters that automatically scale to the appropriate size according to workload are called auto-scaling clusters.
  • High Concurrency Clusters: In order to accommodate concurrent queries without sacrificing performance, high concurrency clusters give priority to allocating resources among several users.
  • GPU-Enabled Clusters: GPU-enabled clusters are intended for techniques demanding a lot of processing power, such as deep learning and machine learning.

20. What is a DataFrame in Databricks?

A DataFrame is like a data structure in Azure Databricks. They arrange data in a specified form of 2-D tables that consist of rows and columns. DataFrames are commonly used due to their flexibility and ease of use. Every DataFrame has a schema, which is a form of blueprint that details the type and name of data for every column.

21. What is the difference between regular Databricks and Azure Databricks?

Databricks is an open-source platform that is used by data scientists, engineers, and analysts for data analysis on a collaborative platform. It is an independent data management platform and not directly related to AWS or Azure.

On the other hand, Azure teamed up with Databricks and made Databricks services available on its cloud platform. The outcome of this collaboration and integration is Azure Databricks. Since the Azure platform offers more features and capabilities than standard Databricks, Azure Databricks is more often used. 

22. What is caching, and what are its types?

Caching is the process of storing frequently accessed data in a temporary storage location, such as memory or disk. The purpose is to reduce the need for repeated retrieval from the original source. There are four types of caching:

  • Data caching
  • Web caching
  • Application caching
  • Distributed caching

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23. How does Azure Databricks handle security?

Azure Databricks provides security by using the following methods: 

  • Azure Active Directory Integration: SSO and simplified user authentication are made possible via a seamless integration with AAD.
  • Network Security: Users can strengthen security by defining IP access lists to restrict network access
  • Role-Based Access Control (RBAC): This improves data security by allowing administrators to provide specific permissions.
  • Cluster Isolation: By isolating workspaces inside VNets, certain network security policies are possible.
  • Data Encryption: It provides end-to-end protection by encrypting data both in transit and at rest.
  • Audit Logging and Monitoring: It offers records for tracking actions and possible security breaches.
  • Secrets Management: It enables safe key and credential storage through integration with Azure Key Vault.

24. What is a Databricks unit?

It is a computational unit that calculates processing capacity and is charged for each second that is utilized. Azure charges you based on Databricks units (DBUs) for each virtual machine and additional resources (such as disk storage, managed storage, and blobs) that you supply in Azure clusters. This unit helps Azure Databricks bill you according to your consumption by showing how much power your virtual machine uses per second.

25. Explain the types of secret scopes.

The types of secret scopes include:

  • Azure Key Vault-Backed Scopes: Allows to securely store and manage information such as passwords, tokens, and API keys in Azure Key Vault, providing an extra layer of security for your Databricks resources.
  • Databricks-Backed Scopes: Allows to manage and access secrets such as database connection strings without the need for external services like Azure Key Vault. Here, secrets are stored directly within the Databricks workspace.

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Azure Databricks Interview Questions for Intermediate

26. Which are some of the most important applications of Kafka in Azure Databricks?

The applications of Kafka in Azure Databricks include:

  • Real-Time Data Processing: You can process real-time data from a Kafka stream almost instantly by utilizing Spark Streaming in Azure Databricks. You can use this to get insights from your data in real-time.
  • Data Integration: Using Kafka, data can be streamed into Azure Databricks from a variety of sources for processing and analysis. This could help you build a comprehensive big-data pipeline.
  • Event-Driven Architecture: Spark Streaming in Azure Databricks can be used to rapidly handle data revisions or user interactions that are published over Kafka.
  • Microservices Communication: Separated and scalable architectures are supported by Kafka, which facilitates communication between microservices running on Azure Databricks or other cloud platforms.

27. Which cloud service category does Microsoft's Azure Databricks fall under?

Built on top of Microsoft Azure and Databricks, PaaS (Platform as a Service) is an application development platform that includes Azure Databricks.

28. Explain the difference between Azure Databricks and AWS Databricks.

Aspect Azure Databricks AWS Databricks
Cloud Provider Microsoft Azure Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Integration Deep integration with Azure services like ADLS, SQL DW, and more Integration with AWS services like S3, Redshift, Glue, AWS SageMaker, and others
Security Integrated with Azure Active Directory for authentication Integrated with AWS IAM for authentication and access control
Machine Learning Integration with Azure Machine Learning for ML workflows Integration with ML tasks and model deployment
Analytics Tools Integration with Azure Data Factory, Power BI, and more Integration with AWS Glue, Athena, QuickSight, and others
Marketplace Offerings Azure Marketplace offers Databricks services AWS Marketplace offers Databricks services

29. Name the types of widgets used in Azure Databricks.

Widgets are an essential component of notebooks and dashboards. They simplify the process of adding parameters to notebooks and dashboards. They can be applied to assess the modeling logic in the notebook.

There are four types of widgets available in Azure Databricks:

Types of Widgets in Azure Databricks

  • Text Widgets: They make entering values into text fields easier.
  • Dropdown Widgets: You can find a value from a list of preset values by using dropdown widgets.
  • Combobox Widgets: Combobox widgets allow you to choose a value from a list or enter a value into the text field. They are a cross between dropdown and text widgets.
  • Multiselect Widgets: Widgets that allow you to select numerous options from a list of values are known as multiselect widgets.

30. What is Delta table?

Any table containing data saved in the Delta format is referred to as a Delta table. On top of Apache Spark, these tables offer ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) transaction capabilities. For analytics and machine learning, they offer an effective means of storing and managing structured and semi-structured data.

31. How does Azure Databricks handle schema evolution in Delta tables?

This is accomplished through automatic schema evolution. In its simplest form, automatic schema evolution simply implies that when new columns are inserted into the data, it does not need manual schema modifications. As the schema progresses, current queries run well, and virus-like operating scheme changes are easily handled. It increases the flexibility and speed of data pipelines while also allowing them to be customized to meet changing requirements.

Delta Table Schema

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32. What is the purpose of the command-line interface in Databricks?

The command-line interface (CLI) in Databricks serves as a powerful tool for developers and data engineers to interact with Databricks workspaces, clusters, jobs, and data. With scripting and command execution, it offers a method for managing resources, automating operations, and streamlining workflows. Using the Databricks CLI, users may run queries, plan jobs, upload and download files, manage clusters, and carry out a variety of administrative operations via the command line.

33. Explain the concept of table caching in Azure Databricks.

Table caching in Azure Databricks is like keeping a quick-access copy of a table or data in the computer’s memory. As a result, the data may be searched and analyzed much faster because it is not constantly read from storage. It’s like having a reference cheat sheet to speed up time-consuming tasks like sorting, finding, and performing calculations. 

These “cheat sheets” make working with the same data faster and easier by remaining in the computer’s memory. This makes it incredibly useful for handling large datasets or performing intricate computations, which speeds up and simplifies processes in Azure Databricks.

Table Caching in Azure Databricks

34. How do Azure Databricks facilitate collaboration and productivity among data engineers and data scientists working on data analytics projects?

Azure Databricks facilitates collaboration and productivity among data engineers and data scientists by providing a unified analytics platform that integrates with Azure Data Lakes. Through seamless integration with Azure Data Lakes, users can easily access and analyze large volumes of data stored in various formats. Additionally, Azure Databricks offers collaborative features such as shared notebooks, version control, and real-time collaboration, enabling teams to work together efficiently on data analytics projects. Moreover, with built-in support for popular programming languages and machine learning libraries, Azure Databricks empowers data engineers and data scientists to explore, analyze, and derive insights from data effectively, ultimately driving innovation and decision-making within organizations.

35. Explain Azure data lakehouse and data lake.

An Azure data lakehouse combines the features of a data lake with the capabilities of a data warehouse.  It offers a single, scalable platform for storing and managing both structured and unstructured data, bridging the gap between traditional data warehouses and data lakes. Features like ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) transactions, indexing, schema enforcement, and enhanced query performance are all available with Azure Data Lakehouse.

Designed for big data analytics applications, Azure Data Lake is a highly scalable and secure data storage solution offered by Microsoft Azure. Large volumes of both organized and unstructured data can be stored by businesses in their original format. High productivity, smooth access control, and interaction with several analytics and data processing services are just a few of the benefits offered by Azure Data Lake.

Data Lakehourse architecture

36. What is the difference between a data warehouse and a data lake?

Aspect Data Warehouse Data Lake
Data Type Primarily structured data Structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data
Schema Schema-on-write (rigid schema enforced before storage) Schema-on-read (schema flexibility, applied when reading data)
Processing Speed Optimized for high-speed read-heavy workloads Flexible, can handle batch, streaming, and ad-hoc processing
Data Storage Normalized and structured storage Raw, as-is storage preserving original data format
Cost Usually higher due to structured and indexed storage Often lower due to storage optimization and flexible schema
Use Cases Traditional BI, reporting, structured analytics Exploratory analysis, machine learning, big data processing

Also, read about the Data Lake vs Data Warehouse.

37. In Azure Databricks, what are collaborative workspaces?

Collaborative workspaces in Azure Databricks offer a unified environment where data engineers, data scientists, and business analysts can seamlessly collaborate on big data projects. This shared workspace simplifies collaboration by enabling the real-time sharing of notebooks, data, and models. It ensures that everyone involved has access to the most up-to-date data, models, and insights, facilitating smoother and more efficient teamwork on complex data-driven initiatives.

38. What is serverless database processing?

The term “serverless database processing” describes a technique that allows users to interact with databases and execute operations without handling the infrastructure that supports them. Under this architecture, users may concentrate only on the data and queries as the cloud provider manages the provisioning, scaling, and maintenance of the database resources automatically.

Users are charged according to the resources utilized for query execution or data processing while using serverless database processing. Services like Google BigQuery, Amazon Athena, Azure Synapse Analytics on-demand SQL pools, and Snowflake’s Snowflake Data Cloud are well-known instances of serverless database processing.

39. How can large data be processed in Azure Databricks?

Azure Databricks is ideal for processing large data sets. It starts by configuring your cluster with the right VM types for your workload. Then store data in Azure Blob Storage, or ADLS, and mount it to Databricks using DBFS.

After that, it ingests data using tools like Azure Data Factory or Kafka for streaming. Then use Databricks notebooks for ETL jobs and optimize with caching. It monitors performance with Azure Monitor and explores advanced features like MLlib for machine learning or Spark GraphX for graph processing. Consider pricing based on cluster size and storage usage.

40. What are Databricks secrets?

Databricks secret is a key-value pair made up of a distinct key name enclosed in a secret context that may help in maintaining secret content. 1000 secrets are allotted to each scope. Its size must be more than 128 KB.

41. What are PySpark DataFrames?

In Apache Spark, PySpark DataFrames are distributed collections of data organized into named columns, similar to traditional tables in databases or spreadsheets. They allow you to work with large datasets efficiently across multiple computers (nodes) in a cluster.

Some of the key characteristics include:

  • Distributed: Data is stored and processed in parallel across multiple nodes, enabling you to handle massive datasets that wouldn’t fit on a single machine.
  • Structured: Data is organized with rows and named columns, each containing a specific data type (e.g., integer, string, date). This structure makes it easier to manipulate and analyze data.
  • Lazy Evaluation: Operations on DataFrames are not immediately executed but rather defined in a logical plan. When an “action” (like displaying results) is triggered, the plan is optimized and executed efficiently.

42. How can data be imported into Delta Lake?

Azure Databricks uses the Delta Lake data storage format. Data can be imported from a number of formats, including CSV, JSON, and other data warehouses. PySpark has routines that can read information from many sources and write it to Delta Lake. It functions similarly to copying and pasting data into a designated Databricks container.

43. How is the code for Databricks managed?

Git and Team Foundation Server (TFS) are two version control systems that we use to manage your Databricks notebooks and code. These systems facilitate cooperation, keep track of modifications, and guard against duplicate efforts. It acts as a collaborative work environment where all members may view and modify the same document.

44. What is the procedure for revoking a private access token?

A private access token is like a key that grants access to your Databricks account. If you no longer want someone to have access, revoke the token. You can do this in the Databricks security settings. It’s like changing the locks on your house to prevent someone with an old key from entering.

45. Describe the advantages of using Delta Lake.

The advantages of using Delta Lake are as follows:

  • Reliability: Data is automatically repaired in cases of corruption.
  • Time Travel: You can access older versions of your data, like going back in time.
  • Schema Enforcement: It ensures your data structure is consistent.
  • ACID Transactions: Guarantees data consistency during updates.

46.What are 'Dedicated SQL pools'?

Dedicated SQL pools are a separate compute resource for running SQL queries in Azure Databricks. They are useful for queries that don’t require the full power of a Databricks cluster. We can imagine that we have a dedicated computer specifically for running calculations, so it doesn’t slow down other tasks.

 Dedicated SQL Pools

47. What are some best practices for organizing and managing notebooks in a Databricks workspace?

Below are some of the best practices:

  • Use folders and notebooks to categorize your work.
  • Add comments and documentation to explain your code.
  • Consider using libraries and notebooks from shared locations for reusability.
  • Keep your workspace tidy, with folders for projects and clear instructions within notebooks.

48. Describe the process of creating a Databricks workspace in Azure.

  • Click the workspaces tile in your account console.
  • Select the Quickstart option when you click the Create workspace dropdown.
  • Enter the following on the Let’s Set Up Your Workplace page:
    • A Workspace name that’s easy to use.
    • The AWS region in which you wish to host your Databricks workspace. 
  • Click on Start Quickstart and enter the password for your Databricks account.
  • To view the workspace being generated, click Create Stack to open the databricks-workspace-stack page.
  • Once the databricks-workspace-stack status indicates CREATE_COMPLETE, go back to the Workspaces dashboard in the Databricks account console to access your newly created workspace.
  • To start your workspace, click Open next to the newly created workspace.
  • Click Finish after making your principal use case selection.

49. How can I record live data in Azure? Where can I find instructions?

Azure offers various services for capturing live data streams, like Event Hubs or IoT Hubs. There is documentation available on the Azure website to guide you through the setup process. Search for “Azure Event Hubs documentation” or “Azure IoT Hub documentation” for specific instructions.

50. How can you scale up and down clusters automatically based on workload in Azure Databricks?

Databricks has built-in features for scaling clusters (groups of computers) up or down based on workload. You can set minimum and maximum worker numbers for your cluster. When there’s more work to do, Databricks automatically adds workers (scales up). When it’s less busy, it removes workers (scales down) to save costs.

Azure Databricks Interview Questions for Experienced

51. What are the different applications of table storage in Microsoft Azure?

There are many applications of table storage: 

  • Keeping Structured Data: Non-relational table storage can be utilized to keep structured data. This implies that you don’t require a set schema to store data like user preferences, product catalogs, or customer information.
  • Web Applications: It works well with web applications that need to access large volumes of data quickly and easily, for instance, keeping track of user behaviors, session data, or user profiles.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) and Sensor Data: Table storage works great for managing sensor and IoT data. Temperature sensor readings, GPS locations from moving cars, and any other type of device data can be stored.
  • Analytics and Logging: It helps perform analyses on sizable datasets and for logging data. Applications’ logs, website visitors, and metrics can all be stored.
  • Backup and Disaster Recovery: You can use table storage for storing backup copies of your critical data. This ensures your data is safe and available in case of unexpected events.

52. How does Azure handle redundant storage of data?

To guarantee that the data is always available and accessible, Azure keeps several copies of the data stored at various levels. Numerous data redundancy techniques are available in Azure storage facilities to guarantee data security and availability. Some of them are as follows:

  • Locally Redundant Storage (LRS): Azure copies data across several storage areas stored within the same data center to maintain highly accessible data. It is also known as locally redundant storage (LRS) since the data copies are kept in three separate locations inside the same physical space. 
  • Zone Redundant Storage (ZRS): Storage data is replicated to three different availability zones (AZs) of the primary zone. To make sure that data can be recovered from the copies kept at these AZs if the original site is inaccessible.
  • Geographically Redundant Storage (GRS): This data redundancy option is offered by Azure if the entire region experiences a power failure. Data copies are kept at two or more different sites spread across various geographic areas. If the primary site is unavailable, accessing data from the secondary location requires a geo-failover. 
  • Read Access Geo Redundant Storage (RA-GRS):  When the primary region goes down, this data redundancy option makes sure that the data saved in the secondary region is still accessible. 

Azure Storage Replication Options

53. Which kind of consistency models are supported by Cosmos DB?

Consistency levels in Azure Cosmos DB:

  • Strong: Every read operation gets the most recent write, ensuring absolute data freshness.
  • Bounded Staleness: Reads are guaranteed to reflect recent changes within a specified time or number of updates.
  • Session: Guarantees consistency within a session, ensuring a client sees its updates immediately.
  • Consistent Prefix: Reads reflect a linear sequence of writes, maintaining order across operations.
  • Eventual: Guarantees that all replicas eventually catch up to the last write, allowing for eventual consistency across distributed systems.

54. How CI/CD is achieved in the case of Azure Databricks?

Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) in Azure Databricks is usually accomplished by combining techniques and technologies specific to the data engineering and analytics workflows. First of all, developers keep track of changes to their code and notebooks using version control systems like Git. This guarantees that modifications are monitored, discussed, and canceled as needed.

Developers use automated pipelines and Databricks Jobs for Continuous Integration. To ensure that the code is integrated regularly, these tasks can be programmed to execute automatically each time changes are pushed to the repository. To preserve data quality, these pipelines can incorporate tests such as integrity checks and data validation.

Continuous Deployment is facilitated by using Databricks Notebooks and Jobs within deployment pipelines. Code updates are automatically deployed to production or staging environments after they pass integration testing. These deployments can be coordinated by Azure DevOps or other CI/CD platforms, which will start the required Databricks jobs or notebooks.

CI/CD in Azure Databricks

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55. What does 'mapping data flows' mean? Explain.

Mapping data flows refers to the process of tracking and visualizing how information moves from one place to another within a system or organization. It is similar to the process of drawing a data roadmap that shows the flow of data from its source to its destination. This means being aware of the sources of data as well as the methods used to gather, process, store, use, and distribute information.

Drawing a picture of a data flow is similar to mapping it; it illustrates the source (such as a sensor or a form on a website), its path (such as a database or a series of software programs), and its destination (such as a report or a customer’s email). This assists enterprises in understanding not just the location of their data but also its usage patterns, authorized users, and level of security and efficiency.

By creating these maps, businesses can identify potential hardships, improve processes, ensure compliance with regulations, and enhance the overall security and integrity of their data-handling practices. It helps organizations make better decisions and get the most value out of their data.

56. Is it possible for us to prevent Databricks from connecting to the internet?

Yes, it is possible to prevent Databricks clusters from directly accessing the internet. This can be done to enhance security measures and control the data flow within a private network or restricted environment.

One common method is to set up network security settings for Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs) or Network Security Groups (NSGs) in cloud environments like AWS or Azure. You can limit the ability of Databricks clusters to access the internet by adjusting the network settings.

For example, you can create an AWS VPC and configure the Databricks cluster to operate inside of it without having a direct internet gateway attached. In this way, direct internet connectivity will not be available to the cluster.

57. Define partition in PySpark. In how many ways does PySpark support partitioning?

PySpark partition is the process of partitioning a large dataset (DataFrame) based on columns into several smaller datasets while writing to disk. Data partitioning on a filesystem can assist in enhancing query efficiency when handling large datasets in the data lake. This is because faster query execution results from smoother and faster transformations.

PySpark supports two partitioning techniques:

  • Memory Partitioning: Use the coalesce() or repartition() transformations to partition or repartition the DataFrame. 
  • Disk Partitioning: PartitionBy() allows you to use columns to determine how to divide data as you write the DataFrame to disk.  

58. How is the trigger execution functionality used by Azure Data Factory?

Pipelines built with Azure Data Factory can be operated manually or using a trigger. A pipeline run in Azure Data Factory is a copy of the pipeline execution. It is possible to program these pipelines to operate automatically in reaction to external events or on a trigger.

The list of triggers that can cause Azure Data Factory pipelines to start automatically is shown below: 

  • Schedule Trigger: This trigger runs a pipeline via Data Factory on a predetermined timetable.  
  • The Trigger for a Tumbling Window: This trigger runs continuously at regular intervals. It stays in its former state. 
  • Event-Based Trigger: This trigger responds to an event by launching a pipeline operation. 

59. Does Delta Lake provide access controls for governance and security?

Yes, Azure Delta Lake includes access control capabilities for improved security and governance. Access Control Lists (ACLs) are a useful tool for limiting user access to various workspaces, such as notebooks, experiments, models, and files.

This access control feature protects the data kept in Azure Delta Lake and stops unwanted access. Access control lists can be managed by administrators and specific users who have been granted ACL management permissions. Admin users can enable or disable access control for workspace objects, clusters, data tables, pools, and tasks at the workspace level.

60. How is data encryption handled by the ADLS Gen2?

ADLS Gen2 employs an advanced and comprehensive security mechanism. It provides multiple layers of data protection, some of which are as follows:

  • It offers three different authentication mechanisms to guarantee that user accounts are maintained securely: Azure Active Directory (AAD), Shared Key, and Shared Access Token (SAS).
  • ACLs and roles (ACLs) provide more precise control over who has access to specific folders and files.
  • Networks can be separated when administrators choose which IP addresses or VPNs to permit or prohibit traffic from.
  • It protects sensitive data by encrypting it while it is being transferred over HTTPS.

61. As part of a machine learning project in Azure Databricks, you need to track and compare multiple experiments using MLflow. Describe how you would organize your MLflow experiments, track hyperparameters, and log metrics for model evaluation.

I start by creating a clear and well-organized hierarchy before grouping my MLflow experiments for an Azure Databricks machine learning project. I structure them into three main levels: project, experiment, and execution.

Firstly, at the project level, I create a new MLflow project for each major task or goal within my machine learning project. This could involve a variety of data preparation methods or models. This division keeps everything organized and user-friendly.

I then put up experiments within each project to illustrate various strategies or model modifications. For ease, each experiment is given a special name and ID.

Now, I make sure to record the hyperparameters for every run in an experiment. This covers any other factors that have an important impact on the model’s performance, such as learning rate, batch size, and quantity. By logging these hyperparameters, I can figure out which configurations are most effective and replicate successful runs.

I use MLflow to track metrics for logging, including accuracy, precision, recall, F1-score, and any other metrics that are relevant to my particular problem. After every run, I log the metrics I want to keep an eye on after specifying them. I can quickly compare how well various models or setups perform inside an experiment in this way.

62. Your organization needs to securely share sensitive data stored in Delta tables within Azure Databricks with external collaborators. Outline the steps you would take to set up secure data sharing while ensuring data privacy and compliance with regulations.

First, I would create an Azure Databricks workspace and ensure that the Delta tables containing sensitive data are properly structured with appropriate access controls. Next, I’d set up Azure Key Vault to securely store encryption keys. This ensures that data at rest and in transit remains encrypted, meeting compliance requirements.

For sharing, I utilize Azure Databricks’ feature for secure data sharing. I would grant external collaborators access to specific Delta tables through Data Access Control. This allows control over who can read or write to the tables. 

To further safeguard privacy, I implement Data Masking and Anonymization techniques within the Delta tables. This helps protect personally identifiable information (PII) while still allowing collaborators to work with relevant data.

Regular auditing and monitoring of data access logs using Azure Monitor and Azure Security Center would ensure compliance with regulations like GDPR or HIPAA.

63. Your team is building a CI/CD pipeline for deploying machine learning models trained in Azure Databricks. Describe the steps involved in automating the training, testing, and deployment of models, ensuring reproducibility and version control.

First, we establish the pipeline, starting with data ingestion into Azure Databricks. Using Azure Data Factory or similar tools, we automate data extraction from sources into Databricks’ distributed file system. Next, we set up notebooks for model training, ensuring reproducibility by fixing the random seed and version-controlling the code using Git.

For testing, we integrate unit tests within the notebooks to validate model performance metrics against historical baselines. Upon successful testing, we automate model deployment. This involves saving the trained model in an MLflow model registry within Databricks, which allows versioning and easy retrieval. 

Throughout this process, we maintain version control for notebooks, data, and models. Finally, we use Azure DevOps or a similar CI/CD tool to orchestrate the pipeline, triggering automated runs triggered by code commits and ensuring seamless and efficient model deployment.

64. You are working on a project that requires complex data transformations and feature engineering on large-scale datasets. Discuss the techniques and functions available in Azure Databricks to perform these advanced transformations efficiently.

In Azure Databricks, I use several powerful techniques for complex data transformations and feature engineering on large datasets. Firstly, I rely on Spark’s DataFrame API, which offers functions like withColumn, filter, and groupBy for efficient data manipulation. For advanced transformations, I employ User-Defined Functions (UDFs), enabling custom logic on rows or columns. Window functions are also crucial, aiding in calculations across rows within specified windows.

Additionally, Databricks provides MLlib for feature extraction and transformation tasks, such as VectorAssembler for combining features into vectors. I make use of MLlib’s transformers, like StandardScaler for normalization or StringIndexer for converting categorical data to numerical form. The Delta Lake integration helps manage data versioning, ensuring consistency and reliability throughout transformations. These tools, combined with Databricks’ scalable architecture, empower me to tackle intricate data tasks efficiently and with confidence.

65. Your team is working on a project that involves processing and analyzing petabytes of historical data stored in Delta Lake tables. Explain the strategies you would implement to optimize query performance and manage the versioning of data effectively.

Firstly, we partition the data based on relevant columns, such as date or region, to enable faster query execution by reading only the necessary partitions. This reduces the amount of data scanned during queries.

Secondly, we use clustering to organize data within partitions, grouping similar data physically on disk. For versioning, we leverage Delta Lake’s built-in capabilities. We use Delta Time Travel to access and query data at specific points in time without creating multiple copies. 

Additionally, we implement Delta Lake’s feature of Schema Evolution to seamlessly evolve our data schema as needed, maintaining compatibility with existing queries. By combining these methods, we ensure efficient query processing and maintain a clean versioning system for our massive dataset in Delta Lake.


Azure Databricks interview questions cover key aspects of data engineering, analytics, and machine learning. Knowing how to answer these interview questions not only makes it easier to get employment but also opens doors to interesting prospects in the quickly developing big data and cloud computing fields. Azure Databricks is an effective tool for processing and analyzing data, and its future development and innovation in the data business are assured.

You can post your doubts regarding the topic on Intellipaat’s Azure Community page and get a better understanding.