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.
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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