I start off with a brand new CRM Online trial. I can easily see the number of custom entities by navigating to the Settings | Administration | Resources In Use screen. A brand new CRM instance will come with 5 custom entities. CRM automatically enables activity feeds which count as custom entities even though they come with CRM.
I install the Adxstudio Installer, which does not include any entities - it is just a UI that takes care of all the heavy lifting of installing and updating our solution files. That took all of 15 seconds to install.
The easiest way to determine the minimal solutions is to switch to the website gallery in our installer and select a website. I chose to install the basic portal:
The installer determined that this would require installing 6 of our solutions and a data package (Portals Depedencies, Portals Base, Productivity Pack, and Identity, the Basic Portal data package, and two workflow solutions).
It appears the minimum number of entities required for an Adxstudio Install is 54 entities (not counting the 5 custom entities in a brand new CRM organization).
This is the minimum solutions that would need to be installed, and the baseline for the number of entities. That said, I always use our new application building capabilities and couldn't imagine building a portal without it. So I decided to go back to the installer and select the Adxstudio Web Forms solution. This now feels like reasonably minimal functionality required for a conventional install. The entity count for a typical minimal portal installation is 61 entities.
So let's take this to the other extreme and assume I want to get all the value out of Adxstudio that I can and install every feature available. I will assume that I am a commercial entity and not a government organization(that will come later). I am even going to install all of the productivity gallery features which are available as free independent solution files and are not bundled with the Portals product.
As you can see, with our current feature sets, there are now a total of 128 entities (again, not counting the 5 custom entities from a new CRM org).
Now to take it over the top and also add all of the government solutions, even though it makes no sense to mix many of our commercial features and government features in the same CRM deployment. I am including all 14 sample service requests and 6 sample permits as well. Our total entity count is now 155 entities.
You can see the power of our new installer and how important our solution organizations strategy is to enable you to 'right-size' your CRM portal deployment. You don't get any unnecessary entities with Adxstudio as you only get the entities for the features you install.
When you are choosing your ISV vendors, you may consider the entity count in your selection. I would recommend that you think of this in two different ways; 1) Does your vendor package the features in the way that you want to consume them so that you only get entities in your CRM that are needed for the features you want to use?, and 2) When you are considering the entity count, don't think of them as a cost, but a measure of value. Each feature you install provides a value to you and the few entities it needs to store the data is not a bad thing. Ask your potential vendors for what the maximum entity count would be if you used all of their features. A higher count means more features and that is an increase in value to you. After all, if your vendor doesn't provide a feature in their solution, you have to build it yourself, increasing your custom entity count in CRM but more importantly, requiring the time and effort it requires for you to build and support it on your own afterwards.
Now back to the original question that sparked my doing this research on our entity count. I found it remarkable that we have twice as many solution files as one of my competitors has in raw entities. Upon reflection, I am very confident that we are delivering a very impressive value with our portal solution. And we are doing it in a way that makes it easy for customers to consume the features they need, without taking in the features they don't.