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Setting Up a Database for Change Data Capture

When using CDC data sources, you must also take care that the source databases are set up correctly, meaning they have all the features, required for change data capture, enabled.


Set Up a Database User

The MySQL CDC source needs a MySQL database user which will be used for connecting to the database. For how to create one, see the "CREATE USER Statement" in the MySQL Reference Manual (5.7, 8.0 - note that mysql_native_password is no longer the default authentication plugin in MySQL 8; you will need to specify it using the IDENTIFIED WITH mysql_native_password BY '<password>' construct).

This database user will also need to have certain permissions enabled. Use the "GRANT Statement" (5.7, 8.0) to set them if missing. The needed permissions are following:

  • SELECT: enables selection of rows from tables (5.7, 8.0)

  • RELOAD: enables usage of the FLUSH statement to clear or reload internal caches, flush tables or acquire locks (5.7, 8.0)

  • SHOW DATABASES: enables usage of the SHOW DATABASES statement (5.7, 8.0)

  • REPLICATION SLAVE: enables reading the server’s binlog (source of the CDC events) (5.7, 8.0)


Enable Binary Logging

Binary logging can be enabled by adding a couple of options to the MySQL config file. See MySQL Reference Manual on how to do that (5.7, 8.0). For example:

server-id         = 223344
log_bin           = mysql-bin
binlog_format     = ROW
binlog_row_image  = FULL
expire_logs_days  = 10

The semantics of these options are as follows:

  • server-id: must be unique withing the MySQL cluster (5.7, 8.0)

  • log_bin: base name of the sequence of binlog files (5.7, 8.0)

  • binlog_format: must be set to "ROW" in order for the CDC source to work properly (5.7, 8.0)

  • binlog_row_image: must be set to "FULL" in order for the CDC source to work properly (5.7, 8.0)

  • expire_log_days: number of days for automatic binlog file removal (5.7, 8.0)

While the database server is running, the active values of these variables can be checked with the help of the "SHOW VARIABLES Statement" (5.7, 8.0). It’s worth pointing out that the names of the options sometimes differ from the names of the MySQL system variables they set. For example:


Configure Session Timeouts

When an initial consistent snapshot is made for large databases, your established connection could timeout while the tables are being read. You can prevent this behavior by configuring interactive_timeout (5.0, 8.0) and wait_timeout (5.0, 8.0) in your MySQL configuration file.

On how to work with the MySQL config file consult the Reference Manual (5.7, 8.0).


Check your Database Version

The PostgreSQL change data capture connector works by exploiting the logical decoding feature of the database, first introduced in version 9.4. This version however is no longer supported. Debezium recommends running change data capture on version 9.6 or later.

Install an Output Plug-In

PostgreSQL’s logical decoding feature is a mechanism which allows the extraction of the changes which were committed to the transaction log and the processing of these changes in a user-friendly manner via the help of an output plug-in.

The output plug-ins currently available are:

  • decoderbufs, maintained by the Debezium community, based on ProtoBuf

  • wal2json, maintained by the wal2json community, based on JSON

  • pgoutput, the standard logical decoding plug-in in PostgreSQL 10 and later, maintained by the Postgres community

The pgoutput plug-in is always present and requires no explicit installation, for the other two follow the instructions provided by their maintainers.

Note: for simplicity Debezium also provides a Docker image based on a vanilla PostgreSQL server image on top of which it compiles and installs all above mentioned plugins.

Configure the Database Server

Running change data capture on a PostgreSQL server requires certain configuration options to be set accordingly. This can be done either by

  • editing the postgresql.conf file, or by

  • using the ALTER SYSTEM command

The important properties to set are:

shared_preload_libraries = 'decoderbufs,wal2json'

wal_level = logical
max_wal_senders = 1
max_replication_slots = 1

shared_preload_libraries contains a comma separated list of installed output plug-ins. wal_levels is used to tell the server to use logical decoding with the write-ahead log.

Logical decoding uses replication slots. Replication slots retain WAL data even during connector outages. For this reason it is important to monitor and limit replication slots to avoid too much disk consumption and other conditions that can happen, such as catalog bloat if a slot stays unused for too long. This is why the max_wal_sender and max_replication_slots parameters are set with the smallest possible values.

Set Replication Permissions

Replication can only be performed by a database user (specifically the one we set up our CDC connector with) only if the user has appropriate permissions. The permissions needed are REPLICATION and LOGIN.

For setting up database users/roles see the PostgreSQL documentation, but basically the essential command is:


Note: database super-users already have all the permissions needed by replication too.

Configure Client Authentication

Replication can only be performed for a configured number of hosts. The PostgreSQL server needs to allow access from the host the CDC connector is running on. To specify such client authentication options add following lines to the end of the pg_hba.conf file:

local   replication    user                    trust
host    replication    user    trust
host    replication    user    ::1/128         trust

This example tells the server to allow replication for the specified user locally or on localhost, using IPv4 or IPv6.

Other Databases

Streaming CDC data from other databases supported by Debezium is possible in Hazelcast by using the generic Debezium source. This deployment guide however only covers the databases we have first class support for. See the following documentation for the other databases:

Connector Deployment


Using Replicas

Enabling the features needed for the MySQL CDC connector (in particular the binlog) has a performance impact on the database. From our measurements we estimated it to around 15%, but this is very dependent on your particular workload. What’s certain is that it’s not negligible.

Enabling CDC requires pretty much the same settings as replication, so if you already have replication enabled, then there should be no further performance penalty. However the CDC source is an extra replication client, so if you already have replication you might consider connecting the CDC source to your replica, instead of the main database.

Another reason why using a replica for CDC might be useful, is that for large databases the snapshot taken by the CDC source when it first starts can take a significant amount of time and will put heavy load on the database during that period. This might affect the performance of other transactions.

Using Global Transaction IDs

When using a replica for the CDC source and in general when the MySQL server cluster has multiple member it’s a good idea to give yourself the option of connecting the CDC source to any one of the members. The source does track the transaction ids in the binlog and can connect to the binlog of another MySQL server on restart, but in order for the ids to match between servers Global Transaction Identifiers (GTIDs) must be enabled in them.

This can be achieved by setting both of the gtid_mode (5.0, 8.0) and enforce_gtid_consistency (5.0, 8.0) options to "ON".

On how to work with the MySQL config file consult the Reference Manual (5.7, 8.0).


Primary-Only Replication

As we’ve mentioned in the PostgreSQL database setup section the connector uses logical decoding replication slots. All PostgreSQL versions (up to 12) only support logical replication slots on primary servers.

This means that it’s not possible to limit the performance impact of running change data capture on replicas. This weakness is somewhat offset by the fact that the logical replication process seems quite limited as far as the amount of resources it can acquire. When measuring its output it behaves quite like a single threaded process, which can’t saturate neither CPU nor the network.

In our tests we didn’t manage to make it output much more than 20,000 records/second, so on a powerful server running the database it shouldn’t affect normal operations too severely.

Failure Tolerance

PostgreSQL failure tolerance associated with replication slots is somewhat lacking in certain aspects. The CDC connector can quite nicely deal with its own restart or connection loss to the primary database, but only as long as replication slots remain intact. Replication slots are not themselves synced to physical replicas, so you can’t continue to use a slot after a master failure results in promotion of a standby.

There are discussions in the PostgreSQL community around a feature called failover slots which would help mitigate this problem, but as of version 12 they have not been implemented yet.



The general behaviour of the MySQL connector when loosing connection to the database is governed by a configurable reconnect strategy and a boolean flag specifying if state should be reset on reconnects or not. For details see the javadoc.

There are however some discrepancies and peculiarities in the behavior.

During Database Snapshotting

If the connection to the database fails during the snapshotting phase then the connector is stuck in this state until the connection disruption is resolved externally (the database comes back online or the network outage passes). The connector will not initiate any reconnect attempts. It will just wait indefinitely until the problem disappears.

This, unfortunately, is the case regardless of the reconnect strategy specified and is related to the peculiarities of the underlying implementation classes used.

Database Goes Down

If the database process/machine dies during the binlog trailing phase of the connector and the network is intact, allowing the connector to detect what happened, then reconnecting will work as specified by the reconnect strategy. The connector will initiate reconnect attempts by restarting itself with the configured timings and as many times as specified.

Network Outage

If there is a network outage during the binlog trailing phase of the connector, then the connector will detect the outage, and it will reconnect. The configured reconnect strategy will, however, be only partially applied. This is caused by the fact that such network outages are handled internally, by the connector’s underlying implementation classes, and those mechanism are only capable of fixed period retrying without an upper limit on the number of attempts made.

The length of the reconnect period will be taken from the reconnect strategy, and it will be equal to the delay the later has configured for the first reconnect attempt (more precisely what its IntervalFunction returns when applied to 1). So for example, if we have reconnect periods with exponential backoff configured, then the backoff will not be applied.

Just as the retry strategy is not fully taken into consideration when reconnection is handled in this manner, the state reset setting is also ignored. Internal reconnects will never reset the state.


The general behaviour of the PostgreSQL connector when losing connection to the database is governed by a configurable reconnect strategy and a boolean flag specifying if state should be reset on reconnects or not. For details see the javadoc.

There are however some peculiarities to the behaviour.

Replication Slot Must Be Intact

The reconnect process can work automatically only as long as the Postgres replication slot, which it’s based on, has not lost data. When the Postgres database cluster experiences failures and the source needs to be connected to a different database instance, manual intervention from an administrator might become necessary to ensure that the replication slot has been re-created properly, without data loss.

No Active Outage Detection

The Postgres connector does not have any active connection monitoring. Because of that, if there is any connection loss (database machine/process dies, network outage and so on), the connector notices the failure only after a long delay. It is basically at the mercy of timeouts at the level of the network stack. In many situations, these long delays need to be waited out before the reconnect process can start.

If the connection loss is short and recovers on its own, the connector doesn’t even notice and will work properly, due to replication slots ensuring the continuity of data.