Entities (Master Data Services)

Entities are objects in Master Data Services models. An entity is a container of related members that are defined by attributes.

You can think of an entity as a table that contains master data. The rows represent members and the columns represent attributes.

Entity example

In the following example, the entity has the attributes: Name, Code, Subcategory, StandardCost, ListPrice, and FilePhoto. These attributes describe the members. The members are represented by a single row of attribute values.

Entity example with sample data

You can have one or more entities, none of which is more important than any other entity. Each entity should group a similar kind of data. For example, you can create a Product entity to contain product members or a Customer entity to contain customer members. Additionally, an entity can be an attribute for another entity. This is called a domain-based attribute.

Generally, there are one or more central entities that are important to your business, and to which other objects in the model relate. For example, in a Product model, you could have a central entity called Product to which other entities, such as Subcategory and Category, relate.

In Master Data Manager, when you create a model, you can choose to create an entity at the same time. This entity takes the same name as the model, but you can change it later if needed. In the System Administration functional area, you can drag an entity from the Details pane on the right to the Model Explorer pane on the left. If you drag an entity to a model, the entity becomes a base-level entity, which determines the view that you see in the Explorer area of Master Data Manager. If you drag an entity to another entity, the entity becomes a domain-based attribute.

In the following example, the Product entity is the central entity. The Subcategory entity is a domain-based attribute of the Product entity. The Category entity is a domain-based attribute of the Subcategory entity. StandardCost and ListPrice are free-form attributes of the Product entity, and FilePhoto is a file attribute of the Product entity.


This is an example based on the Master Data Manager user interface (UI). The hierarchical tree structure shows relationships between entities and domain-based attributes. It is intended to show relationships rather than represent levels of importance.

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