When your data systems don’t have access to accurate and real-time data, your organization runs the risk of making bad and costly decisions based on poor-quality business intelligence. In fact, Gartner research director, Mei Yang Selvage, recently said that the failure “to measure the impact [of bad data] results in reactive responses to data quality issues, missed business growth opportunities, increased risks, and lower ROI.” 

There are many strategies for overcoming these challenges as they relate to low-quality data, and most of the solutions focus on improving the accuracy and real-time nature of data flows to your analytics systems. One of the most important of these strategies involves using hard and soft deletes to improve the speed and accuracy of Change Data Capture (CDC). 

Here are the 5 key takeaways from this article: 

  • Real-time data quality is essential to avoid costly decisions based on poor data.
  • Change Data Capture (CDC) tracks rapid data changes for up-to-the-minute data replication.
  • Hard deletes can eliminate redundant data but can make tracking of deletes difficult.
  • Soft deletes retain data for accurate CDC and improved data quality.
  • Integrate.io combines hard and soft deletes for efficient and accurate CDC capabilities.

In this article, we look at how the Integrate.io's ETL platform allows users to benefit from Change Data Capture (CDC) and advanced Hard & Soft Delete functionality for better data quality. 

Table of Contents 

What is Change Data Capture (CDC) and Integrate.io?

Change Data Capture or “CDC” is a data integration process that allows data systems to track and capture rapid changes in data within a source database. By detecting and capturing these changes, CDC allows the data system to ensure that connected systems—such as data warehouses—reflect all changes accurately. 

Here’s how CDC works: Instead of continually copying the entire dataset to the destination database, which takes a long time and requires a lot of processing power, CDC only captures and syncs the entire database initially. Then it moves to continuous sync copying. Continuous sync copying captures and syncs only the data that has changed. As a more efficient way of handling data, CDC enables up-to-the-minute data replication and analysis, significantly enhancing the quality and accuracy of all business intelligence (BI). 

Integrate.io is an easy-to-use, low-code/no-code ETL platform that includes features for syncing data across different data systems and business apps. Integrate.io uses a combination of hard and soft deletes to achieve powerful, fast, and efficient CDC-enabled syncing features. 

What Is the Role of Hard & Soft Deletes in CDC?

The terms Hard Delete and Soft Delete refer to two different strategies for removing data records from a data system, such as a data warehouse or destination system. Here is a quick explanation of hard and soft deletes in the context of CDC:

Hard Deletes 

A hard delete permanently removes specific data records from the destination system. After a hard delete, users cannot recover or restore the data without a backup. 

In the context of CDC, delete operations are stored in the database's binary log history when enabled. Databases like MySQL, PostgreSQL and SQL server supports this kind of logging. With the binary log history, a hard delete can be performed in the destination to ensure that the source and destination's data are accurate and in sync. This will also prevent any duplicates in the destination. One consequence of having hard delete is not being able to track which records get deleted in the destination.

That being said, hard deletes do offer the advantage of keeping both operational and analytical systems lightweight and efficient. By eliminating redundant or unnecessary data, hard deletes ensure that only relevant and significant data changes are captured and processed.

Soft Deletes

A soft delete doesn’t actually delete information. Instead, it marks records as deleted with a “deleted” flag or by updating a “yes/no delete status" field: connected to the record. Unlike hard deletes, soft-deleted information stays in the system. This gives users the choice to either filter out, call, or undelete the soft-deleted records at any time. 

In the context of data analytics, soft deletes offer clear advantages over hard deletes. By retaining 'deleted' data, soft deletes allow the CDC process to easily detect deletes by searching for the timestamps of all changes. This will detect the delete flag in addition to other data changes. By capturing these changes, the system can accurately replicate them in the target system to achieve the highest levels of data quality.

That being said, soft deletes can create problems for system speed and processing efficiency. This is because saving all of the soft-deleted information in both the source and target databases can bog down operational and analytics data systems, making them slower—and scaling them to handle the additional load is expensive.

How Integrate.io Empowers Users to Leverage a Combination of Hard & Soft Deletes for Advanced CDC Capabilities

Integrate.io allows users to strategically combine the use of hard deletes and soft deletes. By applying different combinations of hard and soft deletes, users can customize their Integrate.io data flows to achieve the ideal balance of system efficiency and data analytics accuracy.

Integrate.io also offers unique features to overcome the traditional challenges related to hard and soft deletes. When RedShift or Snowflake is the destination system, Integrate.io integrate.io performs a hard delete on all CDC operations. When S3 or BigQuery is the destination, Integrate.io performs a soft delete on CDC operations by adding a 'deleted' flag. The soft delete capability with S3 and BigQuery allows your system to capture 'deleted' operations without losing any historical data. For system efficiency or data security purposes, users can choose to call up or hard delete this soft-deleted information at any time.


Even if you feel your data quality is good and your systems are running quickly and efficiently, there’s always room for improvement. In fact, only 16% of companies say that their cloud data is "very good" and 41% of companies say that inconsistent data across technologies is their biggest challenge. If you relate to these statistics, using Integrate.io for CDC allows you to leverage the best of hard and soft deletes for the perfect balance of data quality, real-time data replication, and high-level system efficiency.

Want to learn more about the power of Integrate.io to enhance your data quality, improve analytics accuracy, and drive success across your organization? Contact the Integrate.io team and schedule a free demo today!