Access External Data with Lightning Connect

Lightning Connect enables your users to view and search records that are stored outside Salesforce, such as data in an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Instead of copying the data into Salesforce, which would be redundant and inefficient, use external objects to reference the data and access the data in real time via Web service callouts.
Available in: Developer Edition

Available for an additional cost in: Enterprise, Performance, and Unlimited Editions



We anticipate this product will be generally available in the November 2014 to January 2015 time frame. Any unreleased services or features referenced in this or other public statements are not currently available and may not be delivered on time or at all. Customers who purchase Salesforce applications should make their purchase decisions based upon features that are currently available.

Lightning Connect external objects map to data tables in external data sources and are available to Salesforce tools such as lookup relationships, record feeds, the Salesforce1 app, SOSL and SOQL queries, Salesforce APIs, and deployment via the Metadata API, change sets, and packages. To connect to an external data source, Lightning Connect uses the Open Data Protocol (OData) version 2.0.

For example, suppose that you have product order information stored in an external database and you want to view those orders as a related list on each customer record in Salesforce. Lightning Connect enables you to set up a relationship between the (parent) customer object and the (child) external object for orders. Then you can set up the page layouts for the parent object to include a related list that displays child records.

For Lightning Connect setup details and considerations, see the Salesforce Help.


This screenshot shows how Lightning Connect can provide a seamless view of data across system boundaries. A record detail page for the Business_Partner external object includes two related lists of child objects. In this example, external lookup relationships and page layouts enable users to view related data from within and from outside Salesforce on a single page.
  • Account standard object (1)
  • Sales_Order external object (2)
External object record detail page with standard object Account related list and external object Sales_Order related list