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We are excited to announce the public preview of change data capture (CDC) in Azure SQL Databases, a feature that has been requested by multiple customers.


What is change data capture?

Change data capture (CDC) provides historical change information for a user table by capturing both the fact that Data Manipulation Language (DML) changes (insert / update / delete) were made and the changed data. Changes are captured by using a capture process that reads changes from the transaction log and places them in corresponding change tables. These change tables provide a historical view of the changes made over time to source tables. CDC functions enable the change data to be consumed easily and systematically.

Learn more here: About CDC.


Why use change data capture?

CDC is a widely used feature by enterprise customers for a variety of purposes:

  • Tracking data changes for audit purposes 

  • Propagate changes to downstream subscribers, which is backend of other system in the organization 

  • Perform analytics on change data  

  • Execute ETL operations to move all the data changes in the OLTP system to data lake or data warehouse 

  • Event based programing that provides instantaneous responses based on data change (E.g.: Dynamic Product pricing)


Change data capture in Azure SQL Database (Preview)

CDC is now available in public preview in Azure SQL, enabling customers to track data changes on their Azure SQL Database tables in near real-time. Now in public preview, CDC in PaaS offers a similar functionality to SQL Server and Azure SQL Managed Instance CDC, providing a scheduler which automatically runs change capture and cleanup processes on the change tables. These capture and cleanup processes used to be run as SQL Server Agent jobs on SQL Server on premises and on Azure SQL Managed Instance, but now they are run automatically throughout the scheduler in Azure SQL Databases. 


Enabling Change data capture on an Azure SQL Database

Customers will be able to use CDC on Azure SQL databases higher than the S3 (Standard 3) tier.

Enabling CDC on an Azure SQL database is similar to enabling CDC on SQL Server or Azure SQL Managed Instance. Learn more here: Enable CDC.


Sending CDC Change Data to Other Destinations

Multiple Microsoft technologies such as Azure Data Factory can be used to move CDC change data to other destinations (e.g. other databases, data warehouses). Other 3rd party services also offer streaming capabilities for change data from CDC. For instance, Striim and Qlik offer integration, processing, delivery, analysis, or visualization capabilities for CDC changes.


“Real-time information is vital to the health of the enterprises,” says Codin Pora, VP of Technology and partnership at Striim. “Striim is excited to support the new change data capture (CDC) capabilities of Azure SQL Database and help companies drive their digital transformation by bringing together data, people, and processes. Striim, through its Azure SQL Database CDC pipelines, provides real-time data for analytics and intelligence workloads, operational reporting, ML/AI implementations and many other use cases, creating value as well as competitive advantage in a digital-first world. Striim builds continuous streaming data pipelines with minimal overhead on the source Azure SQL Database systems, while moving database operations (inserts, updates, and deletes) in real time with security, reliability, and transactional integrity.”


“Joint customers are excited about the potential of leveraging Qlik Data Integration alongside CDC in Azure SQL DB and CDC for SQL MI to securely access more of their valuable data for analytics in the cloud,” said Kathy Hickey, Vice President, Product Management at Qlik. “We are happy to announce that in addition to support for Azure SQL MI as a source, the newly available MS-CDC capabilities will also allow us to support Azure SQL DB sources via our Early Access Program. We look forward to partnering with Microsoft on helping customers leverage these capabilities to confidently create new insights from their Azure managed data sources.”


Stay up to date with the change data capture blog series

We are happy to start a bi-weekly blog series for customers who’d like to learn more about enabling CDC in their Azure SQL Databases! This series will explore different features/services that can be integrated with CDC to enhance change data functionality.


Some of the upcoming CDC blog series:

  • Deep Dive into Change Data Capture in Azure SQL Databases

  • Using Azure Data Factory to send Change Data Capture Data to Other Destinations

Brought to you by Dr. Ware, Microsoft Office 365 Silver Partner, Charleston SC.