Understanding Virtual Entity in Dynamics 365 CE

Understanding Virtual Entity in Dynamics 365 CE

A virtual entity is a custom entity that the user creates in Dynamic 365. It looks the same as a Dynamics 365  normal entity to the end-users. Still, in actuality, it references data from some other external data source like Azure SQL or OData v4 data provider.

The virtual entity only contains the fields (structure of the entity) and the data from an external data source. So virtual entity generally display data from external data sources, such as web services and Azure SQL Database to Dynamic 365 Customer Engagement.

Data Sources

How to show your  external database data in Dynamic CRM?

The possible options for the same are Microsoft connector or developing custom control using scripting.

However, by using a virtual entity, we can directly integrate external data sources so that the external data source is available in the Dynamic 365 environment.

Advantages of Virtual Entity

  1. There is no physical table created for a Virtual entity in the database to store the data. It retrieves data dynamically whenever required; it reduces the CRM storage cost.
  2. There is no code required to display the external database data into CRM, which also reduces the project’s time and cost.
  3. The virtual entity is also helpful to retrieve and display data anywhere because your security team will never allow you to transfer or move data outside the firewall to comply with data privacy laws such as PCI, GDPR, etc.

Limitations of Virtual Entity

  1. The virtual entity is not supportive of any changes to the external data source or system. It means it is read-only, and we can’t modify it.
  2. The virtual entity does not support Auditing or tracking functionalities.
  3. Once a Virtual entity is created, we cannot convert it to a legal entity.
  4. Virtual Entity cannot be enabled for the queues.
  5. Virtual Entity cannot have any activity or business process flow.
  6. Virtual Entity cannot support field-level security.

For example: Suppose you have a requirement like to display azure SQL Data into CRM. You have to create the structure of the entity in CRM, same as Azure SQ. Below is the process for displaying external service data into CRM.

Implementing OData V4 – Data Provider

Here we have configured the OData service from which we have to display the data into CRM.

Data Provider
Virtual entity Screen



In case you require any further assistance, do not hesitate to get in touch with a DEV IT expert.

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Kirit Kapupara works as senior technical consultant with DEV IT. Having completed his MCA from Saurashtra University, Kirit has always been passionate for working in the software industry. He now has over seven years of work experience and looks forward to playing/watching cricket or surfing the internet during his time of leisure.

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