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Virtual entities allow Microsoft Dynamics 365 users to utilize record information from external data sources and view the information in fields, search results, and even Fetch XML-based reports within Dynamic 365.

A data source record can be configured by a system customizer to create virtual entities without writing code. However, developers can still implement plugins to read data from other sources using the Plug-in Registration tool and the Dynamics 365 SDK.

When defining a virtual entity, the process is like defining a custom entity. With a virtual entity however, you must attach it to a data provider to achieve data retrieval. Specifically, the entity and its fields must be mapped to equivalent data in the external data source. The data provider must offer a GUID and associate it to the external record that represents this entity instance.

virtual entities

Image from Microsoft

Initial Considerations of Virtual Entities:

  • Data is read-only.
  • Only organization-owned entities are supported.
  • Virtual entities cannot be enabled for queues.
  • Field-level security is not supported.
  • A virtual entity cannot represent an activity and do not support business process flows.

For more information on Virtual Entities within Dynamics check out this blog: Dynamics 365 July 2017 Update: Virtual Entities.

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Joe D365

Joe D365 is a Microsoft Dynamics 365 superhero who runs on pure Dynamics adrenaline. As the face of PowerObjects, Joe D365’s mission is to reveal innovative ways to use Dynamics 365 and bring the application to more businesses and organizations around the world.