Introduction to Virtual Data Resources

With virtual data resource (VDRs), you can transform fields provided by your service providers to a single, normalized resource at Cloud Elements. This allows you to take advantage of our one-to-many integration approach where you write to a single VDR to integrate the transformed resources from your various service providers.

Note: VDRs are not available for in the Cloud Storage & Documents and Messaging hubs.

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Example

A frequent example is to create a VDR to represent your /contacts for various CRMs, and then transform the /contacts resources from those CRMs. You know that you want your contacts to look a certain way, regardless of the CRM system. You want firstName, lastName, and email. But some call FirstName something else, like FirstName, F_Name, or properties.firstname. You need to create a single VDR with fields named firstName, lastName, and email. Then you can map all of the like fields from other to the fields in your VDR. We transform those mapped fields, so you can write to a single API to integrate many services.

This example shows fields in the /Contact resource from Salesforce mapped to fields in a VDR called myContacts.

VDR example

You can use VDRs to do more than normalize resource names. You can transform data types, so when a resource returns a string and you need a date, Cloud Elements transforms the data. Using our JavaScript Editor, you can create logic to manage complex problems. For example, you can write a simple script to combine fields like firstName and lastName into a single field called name. Or tackle even more complicated issues like transforming a number based priority value (1-10) to a descriptor based value (low, medium, or high).

Understanding Levels

You define the fields in VDRs within a hierarchy that includes three levels: organization, account, and instance. Only users at the organization level can create VDRs, while users at other levels can configure the VDRs for specific transformations.

  • The organization is the highest level. A VDR built at this level represents a template that you can use for all accounts within your organization.
  • The account is the next highest level. Accounts typically represent your customers. Transformations at the account level are shared by all users associated with a specific account.
  • The instance is the most granular level. Transformations that you or other users create at this level apply only to a specific element instance.

Definitions

To help you understand VDRs, review the definitions in this section.

virtual data resource
A stand-alone resource, created and defined by a user with the intention of creating a one-to-many transformation.
normalize
Relates to transforming information from vendors to a common language within Cloud Elements. In relation to VDRs, normalization is the transformation of related fields and objects in multiple element resources to a single definition of the field or object within a VDR.
field
Data within a resource. Fields mapped between a VDR and an element instance result in a transformation of the element fields.
map
The process of associating objects within a vendor's resource to objects in a VDR so the vendor objects can be transformed.
resource
An object or entity that can be accessed via a URI request. Similar resources, such as Accounts, Contacts, and Customers appear in multiple APIs. VDRs at Cloud Elements normalize these varied resources.
transformation
The result of mapping an API provider resource to a VDR.
element instance resource
The resources available to the element instance through its API. You map the data from the element instance resources to the data in your VDR to create a transformation.