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Hibernate Support

The InterSystems Hibernate Dialect is an implementation of the Hibernate dialect interface. Since every vendor’s implementation of SQL is slightly different, the dialect interface allows vendors to create custom Hibernate mappings for a specific database. Vendor-provided dialect implementations are distributed as part of Hibernate.

The following topics provide technical details about the InterSystems Hibernate Dialect:

Hibernate and the InterSystems Hibernate Dialect

Java Persistence Architecture (JPA) is the recommended persistence technology for complex object hierarchies in Java projects. InterSystems currently supports JPA via the Hibernate implementations of the JPA specifications. Hibernate is an open source framework from JBoss that acts as a wrapper around JDBC to provide object/relational mapping (ORM) services for relational databases. Hibernate provides a vendor-neutral persistence service, which may be a requirement for some projects.

The InterSystems Hibernate Dialect is an implementation of the Hibernate dialect interface. Since every vendor’s implementation of SQL is slightly different, Hibernate includes vendor-provided "dialects" that customize its mappings to specific databases. Current Hibernate distributions include a high performance, customized InterSystems dialect class.

When to Use Hibernate

Hibernate provides the infrastructure to persist objects to relational tables. Essentially, it is a wrapper around JDBC that allows you to focus on working with objects while transparently handling conversion between objects and tables in SQL queries. Hibernate can be used in most environments, but it is not always the best option. Here are some considerations to bear in mind:

  • Hibernate is helpful when you have a complex but static object model. You must know what your data looks like and how the classes interact before you map them to your InterSystems IRIS table model.

  • Since Hibernate objects are cached, other applications should never interact with the data while Hibernate is accessing it. If you are working in an environment with real-time data that must remain accessible to other applications, you should consider XEP (see Persisting Java Objects with InterSystems XEP) as a possible alternative.

  • Hibernate is good for common CRUD operations with simple querying, but more complex queries may be easier to write, or more efficient, using JDBC directly.

Installation and Configuration

This section provides instructions for setting up your system to use Hibernate with InterSystems IRIS. The instructions assume that the correct versions of both InterSystems IRIS and Hibernate are installed and operational.


The following software must be installed on your system:

  • InterSystems IRIS®

  • Hibernate 5.2 or 5.3. Hibernate can be downloaded from

  • A supported version of the Java JDK 1.8 or higher (see “Supported Java Technologies” in the InterSystems Supported Platforms document for this release).


The instructions in this chapter refer to the following directories:

  • <install-dir> — the InterSystems IRIS installation directory. To locate <install-dir> in your instance of InterSystems IRIS, open the InterSystems terminal and issue the following command:

       write $system.Util.InstallDirectory()

    See Installation Directory for system-specific information on the location of <install-dir>.

  • <hibernate_root> — your Hibernate installation directory.

System Settings

Make the following changes to your system:

  • intersystems-jdbc-<version>.jar File

    The InterSystems JDBC jar file contains the InterSystems JDBC driver. If you haven't already done so, copy the latest version of the JDBC jar file to <hibernate_root>\lib (where <hibernate_root> is your installation directory. The file is named intersystems-jdbc-<version>.jar, where <version> is a number such as 3.3.0 (the latest version number may be higher than this). You can download the latest version of the file from the InterSystems IRIS Driver PackagesOpens in a new tab page.

  • Java Classpath

    Make sure the following items are on your Java classpath:

    • The jar files from <hibernate_root>\lib

    • The directory or directories where the Hibernate configuration files ( and hibernate.cfg.xml) are kept. By default, both files are in <hibernate_root>\etc.

Hibernate Configuration

In the Hibernate configuration files (either or hibernate.cfg.xml), specify the connection information for your database, and the name of the InterSystems dialect class.

The following five configuration properties are required:

  • dialect — The fully qualified name of the InterSystems dialect class. The base dialect class is:


    You can use a custom dialect class derived from this base class if you need to enable support for the Hibernate primary key generator classes.

  • driver_class — The fully qualified name of the InterSystems JDBC driver class:


    This class is in he InterSystems JDBC driver .jar file (see “System Settings” for details).

  • username — Username for the InterSystems IRIS namespace you want to access (default is _SYSTEM).

  • password — Password for the InterSystems IRIS namespace (default is SYS).

  • url — The URL for the InterSystems JDBC driver. The format for the URL is:


    where <host> is the IP address of the machine hosting InterSystems IRIS, <port> is the SuperServer TCP port of your InterSystems IRIS instance, and <namespace> is the namespace that contains your InterSystems IRIS database data (see “Defining a JDBC Connection URL” in Using Java with InterSystems Software for more details).

A typical entry in would contain the following lines (change url, username, and password as appropriate for your system)):

  hibernate.dialect org.hibernate.dialect.InterSystemsIRISDialect
  hibernate.connection.driver_class com.intersystems.jdbc.IRISDriver
  hibernate.connection.url jdbc:IRIS://
  hibernate.connection.username _SYSTEM
  hibernate.connection.password SYS

The following example shows the same information as it would appear in hibernate.cfg.xml:

      <property name="dialect">
      <property name="connection.driver_class">
      <property name="connection.username">_SYSTEM</property>
      <property name="connection.password">SYS</property>
      <property name="connection.url">


If the same property is set in both and hibernate.cfg.xml, Hibernate will use the value from hibernate.cfg.xml.

Dialect File Locations

The InterSystems Hibernate dialect consists of four files that should be located as follows

(where <hibernate> is hibernate-orm\hibernate-core\src\main\java\org\hibernate):

  • in <hibernate>\dialect\

  • in <hibernate>\dialect\identity\

  • in <hibernate>\exception\internal\

  • in <hibernate>\sql\

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