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Application Data Records

Data objects are defined by a collection of fields. During Case processing, the fields associated with data objects are given values. The values can be provided by user input, an external data source, or an event, like a background processing tasks. The unique collection of fields and values for a single instance of the data object is called a Data Record. Each Data Record is a line in a database table, whether stored locally in the Pega database or externally in a system of record maintained by the client organization. 

In this topic, you examine the concept of Data Records and how the information is stored, whether locally in Pega or in an external system of record.

Data Records and data objects

In Pega Platform™, data objects represent key business entities, such a customer. Data objects contain all the fields that are necessary to describe the object. For example, the First name, Last name, Full name, Email, and Phone fields are used to describe a customer. 

Data Records associated with a data object consist of values for each of the fields that describe the object. Data Records define the permissible values for data fields in a data object. Not all fields have Data Records, but fields with Data Records limit the input values to valid options, reduce errors, and allow for Automation.

In the following image, click the + icons to learn more about Data Records using a travel application example:

Generally, a change to Data Record values does not require an associated change in the business process to support the change. For example, adding a new customer is part of the standard business process. Alternatively, a change in the data object fields represents a change in the business processes. For example, adding the new field, Customer level, results in a modification to the business processes to manage platinum customers.

Local data storage

In a Pega Platform application, there are several ways to create and use Data Records to access information.

Data Records can be input directly into the data object from the Records tab. This allows you to enter data directly into the application, and store the data locally in tables in the Pega database without ever having to access the database directly in order to do so.

In the following image, click the + icons to learn more about Data Records stored locally in a data object:

Each Data Record stored locally in the data object's table in the Pega database is includes a field called the pyGUID. When a Data Record is created, the system automatically assigns a unique value to the pyGUID field. It is the pyGUID value for the Data Record that is stored along with the Case, enabling the Data Record to be accessed in the future.


External data storage

You can also configure a data object to retrieve data from an external data source, such as a database maintained by the client or a web service.

In this situation, while each row of data is still a Data Record, the information is not stored in Pega Platform. Instead, the Case uses the integration settings and Data Pages associated with a data object to reference the configured external data source to supply the values for the data fields.  For example, an online grocery delivery application references the supermarket's external product database to retrieve a list of available products from which to order.

For more information on connecting to external data sources, see Configuring data sources.

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