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New and Enhanced Features for InterSystems IRIS 2020.2

This document describes the new and enhanced features in the 2020.2 release of InterSystems IRIS® data platform. The following sections describes the 2020.2 release and its new capabilities and enhancements:

Continuous Delivery Releases of InterSystems IRIS

InterSystems IRIS 2020.2 is a continuous delivery release of InterSystems IRIS. There are now two streams of InterSystems IRIS releases:

  • Continuous delivery releases — These releases provide access to new features and are ideal for developing and deploying applications in the cloud or in local Docker containers.

  • Extended maintenance releases — These releases are less frequent than the continuous delivery releases but provide the increased stability of maintenance releases. These releases are ideal for large enterprise applications where the ease of getting fixes in maintenance releases is more important than getting early access to new features.

Continuous delivery releases are provided in container format and are available on Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Microsoft Azure, Docker Hub, and the InterSystems WRC download site. You can run a continuous delivery release on any of these cloud platforms or a local system using Docker container. InterSystems does not provide maintenance releases for continuous delivery releases, but instead fixes issues in subsequent continuous delivery releases.

The initial major extended maintenance release is provided on all Supported Platforms Guide, including UNIX, Windows, the cloud platforms, and the Docker container. Following maintenance releases are provided on all server and cloud platforms in the InterSystems IRIS Supported Platforms, but are not provided on the Docker container. If you are on a Docker container, you can upgrade to a continuous delivery release.

If your application runs on a non-container platform, you can only use an extended maintenance release for that application but can consider using the continuous delivery releases for:

  • Evaluating new features and testing your custom code — this will reduce your upgrade costs when you upgrade to the next extended maintenance major release.

  • Using it for new projects that can be deployed in the cloud or in local containers.

In addition to providing fully-suppported releases, InterSystems provides access to prerelease software for developers who want to get an early look at new features.

InterSystems Reports

InterSystems Reports can be used with InterSystems IRIS and InterSystems IRIS for Health. InterSystems Reports is a repackaging of Logi Report (formerly named JReport®), a product of Logi Analytics. We plan to provide documentation on how to use InterSystems Reports with our database products, but for customers who want to start using InterSystems Reports now, you can start with the documentation at https://www.jinfonet.com/documentation/. If you have questions about using InterSystems Reports, contact the Worldwide Response Center (WRC). InterSystems Reports is also available with IRIS 2020.1.

New Version TLS 1.3

This release adds support for TLS 1.3. There are a number of attractive attributes with TLS 1.3 (enhanced security, better performance). For more details on TLS 1.3 and 1.2 please see “Using SSL/TLS with InterSystems IRIS.”

New Support for SHA-3

This release adds support for the Secure Hash Algorithm 3 (SHA-3) with new methods in the %SYSTEM.Encryption class. Future releases will use SHA-3 in security operations that currently use SHA-1 such as password hashing.

Block-level Compression Reduces the Overall Storage Footprint (Experimental Feature)

Block-level compression reduces the overall storage footprint (amount of disk required). Depending on the data cardinality (extent of repetition in data values), compression can reduce storage consumption significantly.  Sparsely populated data (lots of zeros and spaces in the data) compress much better.

Block-level compression is an experimental feature in InterSystems IRIS 2020.2. This means that it is not supported for production. The feature is well tested, and compression can provide substantial space savings; however there may be an impact on performance.  In some cases performance may increase as less data needs to be moved from disk to memory; in others it could decrease because of the computation to do compression and decompression.  Space savings and performance impact will depend on the application and platform.

InterSystems is looking for feedback around the space saving and performance overhead seen on customers' real systems — in test environments.  Please contact the Worldwide Response Center (WRC) if you are measuring this in your environment.

Currently, the three compression types provided are zlib, zstd, and lz4. Only data and big string blocks are compressed, although this could be extended to other block types in the future.  A given database block is compressed only if the compression will allow freeing at least one 4KB chunk of space on disk. Block compression is only supported on Linux systems that support sparse files.

X12 Interoperability Production Enhancements and Other Improvements

In each release, InterSystems makes many efficiency improvements and minor enhancements. In this release, these improvements include: