Terminology used in the product and documentation

Applies to Dynamics 365 (online), version 9.x
Applies to Dynamics 365 (online), version 8.x

The following are terms used throughout the Dynamics 365 (online) product and documentation.

Term Definition
Tenant For Dynamics 365 (online), a tenant is the account you create in the Microsoft Online Services environment when you sign up for a Dynamics 365 (online) subscription. A tenant contains uniquely identified domains, users, security groups, and subscriptions and can contain multiple Dynamics 365 (online) instances.

The tenant created for you has a domain name of <account>.onmicrosoft.com. For example, contoso.onmicrosoft.com.
Instance When you sign up for a trial or purchase a Dynamics 365 (online) subscription, a Dynamics 365 (online) production instance is created. Each additional production or non-production (Sandbox) Dynamics 365 (online) instance you add creates a separate and isolated Dynamics 365 organization on the same tenant.

An instance has the URL format: https://<URL name>.crm.dynamics.com. For example, https://contososales.crm.dynamics.com.
Multiregional instance An instance in a different region than where your Dynamics 365 (online) tenant resides. Local instances can provide quicker data access for users in that region. More information: Add and edit multiregional instances
Subscription A subscription consists of the Dynamics 365 licenses and add-ons included with the trial or paid service you signed up for in your Dynamics 365 (online) account. Dynamics 365 subscriptions can vary in license type, price, and end date.

For example, a subscription might be 100 licenses of Dynamics 365 (online) Professional and 10 licenses of Dynamics 365 (online) Enterprise.
Identity The user account used to sign in to Dynamics 365 (online). You can also use this identity to access other Microsoft Online services, such as Office 365 or SharePoint Online. Administrators can decide if they want to federate user identity management between Dynamics 365 (online) and on-premises Active Directory.
User account A user account assigned by an organization (work, school, non-profit) to one of their constituents (an employee, student, customer) that provides sign-in access to one or more of the organization’s Microsoft cloud service subscriptions, such as Exchange Online or Dynamics 365 (online). Access to an online service is controlled by the license assigned to the user account.

User accounts are stored in an organization’s cloud directory within Azure Active Directory, and are typically deleted when the user leaves the organization. Organizational accounts differ from Microsoft accounts in that they are created and managed by admins in the organization, not by the user.
Security group If your company has multiple Dynamics 365 (online) instances, you can use instance security groups to control which licensed users can access a particular instance. More information: Control user access to instances: security groups and licenses

See also

Manage Microsoft Dynamics 365 (online) instances