Skip to main content

Microsoft SQL Server (MSSQL)


Full Refresh SyncYes
Incremental Sync - AppendYes
Replicate Incremental DeletesYes
CDC (Change Data Capture)Yes
SSL SupportYes
SSH Tunnel ConnectionYes
NamespacesYesEnabled by default

The MSSQL source does not alter the schema present in your database. Depending on the destination connected to this source, however, the schema may be altered. See the destination's documentation for more details.


You may run into an issue where the connector provides wrong values for some data types. See discussion on unexpected behaviour for certain datatypes.

Getting Started (Airbyte Cloud)

On Airbyte Cloud, only TLS connections to your MSSQL instance are supported in source configuration. Other than that, you can proceed with the open-source instructions below.

Getting Started (Airbyte Open-Source)


  1. MSSQL Server Azure SQL Database, Azure Synapse Analytics, Azure SQL Managed Instance, SQL Server 2019, SQL Server 2017, SQL Server 2016, SQL Server 2014, SQL Server 2012, PDW 2008R2 AU34.
  2. Create a dedicated read-only Airbyte user with access to all tables needed for replication
  3. If you want to use CDC, please see the relevant section below for further setup requirements

1. Make sure your database is accessible from the machine running Airbyte

This is dependent on your networking setup. The easiest way to verify if Airbyte is able to connect to your MSSQL instance is via the check connection tool in the UI.

This step is optional but highly recommended to allow for better permission control and auditing. Alternatively, you can use Airbyte with an existing user in your database.

Coming soon: suggestions on how to create this user.

3. Your database user should now be ready for use with Airbyte!

Change Data Capture (CDC)

We use SQL Server's change data capture feature to capture row-level INSERT, UPDATE and DELETE operations that occur on cdc-enabled tables.

Some extra setup requiring at least db_owner permissions on the database(s) you intend to sync from will be required (detailed below).

Please read the CDC docs for an overview of how Airbyte approaches CDC.

Should I use CDC for MSSQL?

  • If you need a record of deletions and can accept the limitations posted below, CDC is the way to go!
  • If your data set is small and/or you just want a snapshot of your table in the destination, consider using Full Refresh replication for your table instead of CDC.
  • If the limitations below prevent you from using CDC and your goal is to maintain a snapshot of your table in the destination, consider using non-CDC incremental and occasionally reset the data and re-sync.
  • If your table has a primary key but doesn't have a reasonable cursor field for incremental syncing (i.e. updated_at), CDC allows you to sync your table incrementally.

CDC Config

Data to SyncEnum: Existing and New, New Changes OnlyExisting and NewWhat data should be synced under the CDC. Existing and New will read existing data as a snapshot, and sync new changes through CDC. New Changes Only will skip the initial snapshot, and only sync new changes through CDC. See documentation here for details. Under the hood, this parameter sets the snapshot.mode in Debezium.
Snapshot Isolation LevelEnum: Snapshot, Read CommittedSnapshotMode to control which transaction isolation level is used and how long the connector locks tables that are designated for capture. If you don't know which one to choose, just use the default one. See documentation here for details. Under the hood, this parameter sets the snapshot.isolation.mode in Debezium.

CDC Limitations

  • Make sure to read our CDC docs to see limitations that impact all databases using CDC replication.
  • There are some critical issues regarding certain datatypes. Please find detailed info in this Github issue.
  • CDC is only available for SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 1 (SP1) and later.
  • db_owner (or higher) permissions are required to perform the neccessary setup for CDC.
  • If you set Initial Snapshot Isolation Level to Snapshot, you must enable snapshot isolation mode on the database(s) you want to sync. This is used for retrieving an initial snapshot without locking tables.
  • For SQL Server Always On read-only replica, only Snapshot initial snapshot isolation level is supported.
  • On Linux, CDC is not supported on versions earlier than SQL Server 2017 CU18 (SQL Server 2019 is supported).
  • Change data capture cannot be enabled on tables with a clustered columnstore index. (It can be enabled on tables with a non-clustered columnstore index).
  • The SQL Server CDC feature processes changes that occur in user-created tables only. You cannot enable CDC on the SQL Server master database.
  • Using variables with partition switching on databases or tables with change data capture (CDC) is not supported for the ALTER TABLE ... SWITCH TO ... PARTITION ... statement
  • Our implementation has not been tested with managed instances, such as Azure SQL Database (we welcome any feedback from users who try this!)
    • If you do want to try this, CDC can only be enabled on Azure SQL databases tiers above Standard 3 (S3+). Basic, S0, S1 and S2 tiers are not supported for CDC.
  • Our CDC implementation uses at least once delivery for all change records.
  • Read more on CDC limitations in the Microsoft docs.

Setting up CDC for MSSQL

1. Enable CDC on database and tables

MS SQL Server provides some built-in stored procedures to enable CDC.

  • To enable CDC, a SQL Server administrator with the necessary privileges (db_owner or sysadmin) must first run a query to enable CDC at the database level.

    USE {database name}
    EXEC sys.sp_cdc_enable_db
  • The administrator must then enable CDC for each table that you want to capture. Here's an example:

    USE {database name}

    EXEC sys.sp_cdc_enable_table
    @source_schema = N'{schema name}',
    @source_name = N'{table name}',
    @role_name = N'{role name}', [1]
    @filegroup_name = N'{fiilegroup name}', [2]
    @supports_net_changes = 0 [3]
    • [1] Specifies a role which will gain SELECT permission on the captured columns of the source table. We suggest putting a value here so you can use this role in the next step but you can also set the value of @role_name to NULL to allow only sysadmin and db_owner to have access. Be sure that the credentials used to connect to the source in Airbyte align with this role so that Airbyte can access the cdc tables.
    • [2] Specifies the filegroup where SQL Server places the change table. We recommend creating a separate filegroup for CDC but you can leave this parameter out to use the default filegroup.
    • [3] If 0, only the support functions to query for all changes are generated. If 1, the functions that are needed to query for net changes are also generated. If supports_net_changes is set to 1, index_name must be specified, or the source table must have a defined primary key.
  • (For more details on parameters, see the Microsoft doc page for this stored procedure).

  • If you have many tables to enable CDC on and would like to avoid having to run this query one-by-one for every table, this script might help!

For further detail, see the Microsoft docs on enabling and disabling CDC.

2. Enable snapshot isolation

  • When a sync runs for the first time using CDC, Airbyte performs an initial consistent snapshot of your database. To avoid acquiring table locks, Airbyte uses snapshot isolation, allowing simultaneous writes by other database clients. This must be enabled on the database like so:

    ALTER DATABASE {database name}

3. Create a user and grant appropriate permissions

  • Rather than use sysadmin or db_owner credentials, we recommend creating a new user with the relevant CDC access for use with Airbyte. First let's create the login and user and add to the db_datareader role:

    USE {database name};
    CREATE LOGIN {user name}
    WITH PASSWORD = '{password}';
    CREATE USER {user name} FOR LOGIN {user name};
    EXEC sp_addrolemember 'db_datareader', '{user name}';
    • Add the user to the role specified earlier when enabling cdc on the table(s):

      EXEC sp_addrolemember '{role name}', '{user name}';
    • This should be enough access, but if you run into problems, try also directly granting the user SELECT access on the cdc schema:

      USE {database name};
      GRANT SELECT ON SCHEMA :: [cdc] TO {user name};
    • If feasible, granting this user 'VIEW SERVER STATE' permissions will allow Airbyte to check whether or not the SQL Server Agent is running. This is preferred as it ensures syncs will fail if the CDC tables are not being updated by the Agent in the source database.

      USE master;
      GRANT VIEW SERVER STATE TO {user name};

4. Extend the retention period of CDC data

  • In SQL Server, by default, only three days of data are retained in the change tables. Unless you are running very frequent syncs, we suggest increasing this retention so that in case of a failure in sync or if the sync is paused, there is still some bandwidth to start from the last point in incremental sync.

  • These settings can be changed using the stored procedure sys.sp_cdc_change_job as below:

    -- we recommend 14400 minutes (10 days) as retention period
    EXEC sp_cdc_change_job @job_type='cleanup', @retention = {minutes}
  • After making this change, a restart of the cleanup job is required:

  EXEC sys.sp_cdc_stop_job @job_type = 'cleanup';

EXEC sys.sp_cdc_start_job @job_type = 'cleanup';

5. Ensure the SQL Server Agent is running

  • MSSQL uses the SQL Server Agent

    to run the jobs necessary

    for CDC. It is therefore vital that the Agent is operational in order for to CDC to work effectively. You can check

    the status of the SQL Server Agent as follows:

  EXEC xp_servicecontrol 'QueryState', N'SQLServerAGENT';
  • If you see something other than 'Running.' please follow

    the Microsoft docs

    to start the service.

Connection to MSSQL via an SSH Tunnel

Airbyte has the ability to connect to a MSSQL instance via an SSH Tunnel. The reason you might want to do this because it is not possible (or against security policy) to connect to the database directly (e.g. it does not have a public IP address).

When using an SSH tunnel, you are configuring Airbyte to connect to an intermediate server (a.k.a. a bastion sever) that does have direct access to the database. Airbyte connects to the bastion and then asks the bastion to connect directly to the server.

Using this feature requires additional configuration, when creating the source. We will talk through what each piece of configuration means.

  1. Configure all fields for the source as you normally would, except SSH Tunnel Method.

  2. SSH Tunnel Method defaults to No Tunnel (meaning a direct connection). If you want to use an

    SSH Tunnel choose SSH Key Authentication or Password Authentication.

    1. Choose Key Authentication if you will be using an RSA private key as your secret for

      establishing the SSH Tunnel (see below for more information on generating this key).

    2. Choose Password Authentication if you will be using a password as your secret for establishing

      the SSH Tunnel.

  3. SSH Tunnel Jump Server Host refers to the intermediate (bastion) server that Airbyte will connect to. This should

    be a hostname or an IP Address.

  4. SSH Connection Port is the port on the bastion server with which to make the SSH connection. The default port for

    SSH connections is 22, so unless you have explicitly changed something, go with the default.

  5. SSH Login Username is the username that Airbyte should use when connection to the bastion server. This is NOT the

    MSSQL username.

  6. If you are using Password Authentication, then SSH Login Username should be set to the

    password of the User from the previous step. If you are using SSH Key Authentication leave this

    blank. Again, this is not the MSSQL password, but the password for the OS-user that Airbyte is

    using to perform commands on the bastion.

  7. If you are using SSH Key Authentication, then SSH Private Key should be set to the RSA

    private Key that you are using to create the SSH connection. This should be the full contents of

    the key file starting with -----BEGIN RSA PRIVATE KEY----- and ending

    with -----END RSA PRIVATE KEY-----.

Generating an SSH Key Pair

The connector expects an RSA key in PEM format. To generate this key:

ssh-keygen -t rsa -m PEM -f myuser_rsa

This produces the private key in pem format, and the public key remains in the standard format used by the authorized_keys file on your bastion host. The public key should be added to your bastion host to whichever user you want to use with Airbyte. The private key is provided via copy-and-paste to the Airbyte connector configuration screen, so it may log in to the bastion.

Data type mapping

MSSQL data types are mapped to the following data types when synchronizing data. You can check the test values examples here. If you can't find the data type you are looking for or have any problems feel free to add a new test!

MSSQL TypeResulting TypeNotes
varchar(max) COLLATE Latin1_General_100_CI_AI_SC_UTF8string

If you do not see a type in this list, assume that it is coerced into a string. We are happy to take feedback on preferred mappings.


VersionDatePull RequestSubject
0.4.82022-06-2414121Omit using 'USE' keyword on Azure SQL with CDC
0.4.52022-06-2314077Use the new state management
0.4.32022-06-1713887Increase version to include changes from 13854
0.4.22022-06-0613435Adjust JDBC fetch size based on max memory and max row size
0.4.12022-05-2513419Correct enum for Standard method.
0.4.02022-05-2512759 13168For CDC, Add option to ignore existing data and only sync new changes from the database.
0.3.222022-04-2912480Query tables with adaptive fetch size to optimize JDBC memory consumption
0.3.212022-04-1111729Bump mina-sshd from 2.7.0 to 2.8.0
0.3.192022-03-3111495Adds Support to Chinese MSSQL Server Agent
0.3.182022-03-2911010Adds JDBC Params
0.3.172022-02-2110242Fixed cursor for old connectors that use non-microsecond format. Now connectors work with both formats
0.3.162022-02-1810242Updated timestamp transformation with microseconds
0.3.152022-02-1410256Add -XX:+ExitOnOutOfMemoryError JVM option
0.3.142022-01-249554Allow handling of java sql date in CDC
0.3.132022-01-079094Added support for missed data types
0.3.122021-12-309206Update connector fields title/description
0.3.112021-12-248958Add support for JdbcType.ARRAY
0.3.102021-12-018371Fixed incorrect handling "\n" in ssh key
0.3.92021-11-097386Improve support for binary and varbinary data types
0.3.82021-10-267386Fixed data type (smalldatetime, smallmoney) conversion from mssql source
0.3.72021-09-306585Improved SSH Tunnel key generation steps
0.3.62021-09-176318Added option to connect to DB via SSH
0.3.42021-08-134699Added json config validator
0.3.32021-07-054689Add CDC support
0.3.22021-06-093179Add AIRBYTE_ENTRYPOINT for Kubernetes support
0.3.12021-06-083893Enable SSL connection
0.3.02021-04-212990Support namespaces
0.2.32021-03-282600Add NCHAR and NVCHAR support to DB and cursor type casting
0.2.22021-03-262460Destination supports destination sync mode
0.2.12021-03-182488Sources support primary keys
0.2.02021-03-092238Protocol allows future/unknown properties
0.1.112021-02-021887Migrate AbstractJdbcSource to use iterators
0.1.102021-01-251746Fix NPE in State Decorator
0.1.92021-01-191724Fix JdbcSource handling of tables with same names in different schemas
0.1.92021-01-141655Fix JdbcSource OOM
0.1.82021-01-131588Handle invalid numeric values in JDBC source
0.1.62020-12-091172Support incremental sync
0.1.52020-11-301038Change JDBC sources to discover more than standard schemas
0.1.42020-11-301046Add connectors using an index YAML file