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IBM App Connect Enterprise Change Data Capture with Debezium

By Andreas Martens posted Wed November 02, 2022 06:45 AM


Change Data Capture (CDC) has been around for a long time, and the only out-of-the-box method for doing it with IBM Integration Bus/IBM App Connect Enterprise has been to use our DatabaseInput node with Trigger functionality within the Database.  This has the downside that the Trigger will be performed within the transaction boundary and hence may introduce a delay in the original transaction. (Though this is an upside for some; if you want the triggered execution to be tied to the original transaction, then definitely keep using Triggers!). The preferred method of performing CDC for many is therefore to look at the database logs, which will happen on a separate thread (or even in a separate process) to the original transaction. Whilst we're working on integrating this into the product for the future, I'd like to show you how it can be done with current versions using KafkaConnect and Debezium.


Debezium is an Open Source CDC tool written in Java and built on top of Kafka. It has support for many databases and can be set up both within and outside a Kubernetes/OpenShift environment.

What you need

There are a few things I'm going to assume you have set up already, just because this would be a very long page if we did everything from scratch!

  1. IBM Integration Bus v10 or IBM App Connect Enterprise. If you don't have one already, you can use the Developer edition.
  2. A Database, one of the ones in the supported list would be best. The easiest one to use with Debezium if you're just exploring is probably MySQL, although SQL Server is almost just as easy.
  3. A Kafka cluster; I used Strimzi in a small Kubernetes cluster, but standalone is fine.
  4. A way to drive changes in the Database. I used a small flow in IBM App Connect Enterprise to make changes (driven by a Kafka message, although HTTP input with the flow exerciser is arguably an easier method). You could also use simple SQL in your chosen DBs command line tool.

Using Debezium to connect your database to Kafka

We use a tool called KafkaConnect to do this for us. If you're using a standalone Kafka instance, I'd suggest simply following the Debezium tutorial, or if you're using Strimzi then follow this blog, or this Debezium Kubernetes Documentation page.

You now have CDC messages in a Kafka queue, let's read them!

Reading the CDC messages with IBM Integration Bus/IBM App Connect Enterprise

A simple flow to take the CDC messages from Debezium and reformat them looks like this:


We don't need to set anything special in the properties, but choose JSON domain for the Input Message Parsing. I created a JSON Schema from an example message (debezium.schema.json, I used an online schema generator), this one expects the message to contain a book and borrower field (I'm using a library lending database, the table I'm capturing on contains the borrower and book they've borrowed). I also created a schema for what I wanted my output to look like and then used a Mapping node to map them, mapping the book to a book_id, the borrower straight over, and the operation type JSON.Data.payload.op; part of the metadata in the message; whether it's an Insert, Update or Delete. Finally I sent it on to a second Kafka queue for displaying on a web page.

Is it that simple?

Yes and no. In principle yes, and I'd expect it to be straightforward for most users. There are some areas that complicate matters a little:

  1. If you've built up your own Kubernetes cluster by hand (because you were learning about Kubernetes a while ago and just continued using the cluster for other stuff...) you might have used CRI-O rather than Docker runtime. In which case you'll have a little fight on your hands getting the Kaniko engine working, but it does work eventually if you follow the changes given in the link.
    See the buildContainer/securityContext section in the connect cluster YAML later for the TL;DR.
  2. When using SQL Server if you follow the instructions here you need to provide it with a filegroup.
    The named filegroup must already exist. It is best not to locate change tables in the same filegroup that you use for source tables. 
    Ref. Debezium documentation.

    I was using SQL Server on a Kubernetes cluster, created following these excellent instructions.  I created some new files in the mounted PV by using sqlcmd and following these instructions, you just need a single ndf file in the filegroup.
    Note: Check your naming! I wasted half a day trying to figure out why I was getting this error in the Debezium Connector logs: CDC is enabled for table Capture instance "mqsi_Lending" [...] but the table is not whitelisted by connector,  I had called my test table Lending but my KafkaConnector definition had Library, so of course they didn't match.
  3. You decide to use DB2 in the above cluster for your first attempt at CDC, even though it was clearly not the preferred choice by Debezium. Your mileage may vary, but I made a mistake I think. After getting one message through it stopped working, when I restarted the pod it complained about not finding its schema store. So I deleted and recreated the connector but it still didn't work, so I deleted all the Kafka topics and it still didn’t work; so I gave up. But then I realised that the architecture that Debezium uses for DB2 allows us to get the data straight into IBM Integration Bus/IBM App Connect Enterprise via the DatabaseInput node (i.e. populating the Event Input table using CDC rather than Triggers), which worked beautifully. I ended up with a flow like this: 

    You can see the source code for the DatabaseInput node in capture_DB2_Capture.esql, as you can see it's pretty basic and needs two specific improvements: 1. The latest read Key is stored as a SHARED INT which means it'll reset every time the node restarts (the fix would be to store it in some sort of persistent system to store data...) and 2. It never removes any entries from the table so would grow very large over time (the fix would be to delete the row from the DB in EndEvent rather than just updating the Key, this would even solve #1 above!). The reason I kept it this way is that it makes it easier to test the functionality if there are loads of entries in the event table.

Here's the configuration I needed to get SQL Server working, it's mostly the same as the docs. 

  1. Creating the KafkaConnect container, I used the following yaml to cause the Strimzi Operator to start it:

    kind: KafkaConnect
      name: debezium-mssql-cluster
      namespace: kafka
      annotations: "true"
      version: 3.1.0
      replicas: 1
      bootstrapServers: my-cluster-kafka-bootstrap:9092
        config.providers: secrets
        config.providers.secrets.class: io.strimzi.kafka.KubernetesSecretConfigProvider mssql-cluster mssql-cluster-offsets mssql-cluster-configs mssql-cluster-status
        # -1 means it will use the default replication factor configured in the broker -1 -1 -1
          type: docker
          #additionalKanikoOptions: [--insecure]
          pushSecret: jfrogcred
          - name: debezium-mssql-connector
              - type: tgz
            - name: jfrogcred
          - name: connector-config
              secretName: mssql-credentials

    Things of note:  

    • The name is simply "debezium-mssql-cluster", so that I can differentiate between other debezium clusters.  I could just install all the connector jars in a single cluster, but that feels too much of a risk.
    • The build section defines how to create the container image using kaniko, to get it working under my kube environment I added the buildContainer/securityContext section.
    • The secret mssql-credentials that I reference didn't actually work in the end, more on that later. 
    • I was uploading the built image to a jfrog artifactory, hence the jfrogcred and image target.

  2. Then creating the KafkaConnector to run in the above container, I used the following yaml to launch it:

    kind: KafkaConnector
      name: debezium-mssql-connector
      namespace: kafka
      labels: debezium-mssql-cluster
      class: io.debezium.connector.sqlserver.SqlServerConnector
      tasksMax: 1
        database.hostname: mssql-deployment.mssql
        database.port: 1433
        database.user: mqsi
        database.password: ${PW}
        database.dbname: mqsi mssql
        table.include.list: mqsi.Lending
        database.history.kafka.bootstrap.servers: my-cluster-kafka-bootstrap:9092
        database.history.kafka.topic: dbhistory.mssql

    Things of note:

    • The database.hostname is using an internal Kubernetes name (so the mssql-deployment service in the mssql namespace), if it's external then use its proper name for your network.
    • The database.user is "mqsi", replace this with whatever user you have created.
    • The database.password is hardcoded in the YAML file. This is possibly a 'bad thing', there is meant to be a reference to the previously declared "mssql-credentials" but that didn't work for me. It should have been ${secrets:kafka/mssql-credentials:password} and ${secrets:kafka/mssql-credentials:username} for the above database.user field. (Where kafka is the namespace I've been creating my KafkaConnect pods and mssql-credentials the name of the Secret.
    • The debezium-mssql-cluster line is needed to connect to the previously defined connect cluster, since I changed the name.

After creating the KafkaConnector, tail the logs of the Cluster pod created in the previous step, that's where the progress / errors will appear.


We've been experimenting with Debezium CDC and have managed to get CDC updates from SQL Server, MySQL and DB2 via Kafka into App Connect Enterprise where we can use a Mapping node to transform the data. The setup is fairly straightforward but debugging can get tricky. 

I'm happy to help if anyone has problems or questions with it, feel free to raise issues on OT4I.