Innovative Routines International

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Coordinates: 28°08′32″N 80°34′56″W / 28.1422°N 80.5822°W / 28.1422; -80.5822

IRI, The CoSort Company
Industry Data processing, Sorting, Data integration, Test data, Data masking, Data conversion
Headquarters Melbourne, Florida, USA
Products CoSort, Fast Extract (FACT), RowGen, FieldShield, NextForm

Innovative Routines International (IRI), Inc. is an American software company first known for bringing mainframe sort merge functionality into open systems.[1] IRI was the first vendor to develop a commercial replacement for the Unix sort command, and combine data transformation and reporting in Unix batch processing environments.[2] In 2007, IRI's coroutine sort ("CoSort") became the first product to collate and convert multi-gigabyte XML and LDIF files,[3] join and lookup across multiple files,[4][5] and apply role-based data privacy functions (including AES-256 encryption) for fields within sensitive files.[6]

IRI is headquartered in Melbourne, Florida, United States, and has resale and support offices in 25 countries,[7] including France, Japan, South Africa, and Brazil.[8] Primary computing platform partners include HP,[9] IBM,[10] Fujitsu,[11] Intel,[12] Novell,[13] Red Hat, Sun Microsystems, and Microsoft.[14] CoSort users include: AIM Healthcare,[15] EDS,[16] HSBC Insurance,[17] and Thomson Reuters.[18]


IRI software is designed to transform, convert, report, and protect large data volumes rapidly in distributed, heterogeneous computing environments.[19] These functions are built into the CoSort package or through spin-offs for data extraction, generation, security, and migration. Each tool uses the same metadata format for defining and manipulating data.[20] This data definition file format is also supported by Meta Integration Technology (MITI) so that third-party ETL, BI, and data modeling tool users can re-use their existing metadata in IRI product environments.[21]

IRI CoSort[edit]

CoSort was released for CP/M in 1978, DOS in 1980, Unix in the mid-eighties, and Windows in the early nineties,[22] and received a readership award from DMReview magazine in 2000,[23] CoSort was initially designed as a file sorting utility, and added interfaces to replace or convert the sort program parameters used in IBM Infosphere DataStage, Informatica, Micro Focus COBOL, JCL, NATURAL, SAS, and SyncSort Unix.[24]

In 1992, CoSort added related data manipulation functions through a control language interface based on DEC VAX/VMS sort utility syntax,[25] which evolved through the years to handle file-based data integration and staging functions in data warehouse ETL operations:[26]

"For data warehouse and data mart applications, CoSort performs source data extraction, data cleansing, sorting, reformatting, data type conversion, aggregation, and indexing, all in a single pass. Most operational data in commercial and public sector enterprises reside internally in sequential flat files, (relational) database tables, or are imported from data tapes and transmissions generated externally. These historical databases are optimized for ad hoc queries and transactions, rather than for extraction. CoSort accepts multiple input files (large-scale tables or flat-file data dumps), or records streaming through pipes, to perform conditional selection on records for downstream processes." - Dennis Hill, Database Trends Magazine, July 1999[27]

CoSort Version 9 releases, begun in 2007, can simultaneously transform, convert, report, and/or protect data for ETL, business intelligence, change data capture, database load and query,[28] application development, and data migration activities. Version 10 releases are expected to begin in 2015.

Other tools[edit]

IRI CoSort, IRI FACT, and IRI NextForm are products in the IRI Data Manager suite. IRI FieldShield, IRI RowGen and the pending IRI AuditHub (for database activity monitoring, protection and auditing) are products in the IRI Data Protector suite.

IRI FACT[edit]

FACT (FAst ExtraCT) is a high-performance unload utility for Oracle, DB2, Sybase ASE and IQ, SQL Server, MySQL, Altibase, and Tibero. It exports large tables into flat files for archive, ETL, reorg, reporting and other applications.[29] FACT and CoSort used together "provide for rapid unloading and transformation of data in Oracle databases in support of ETL processes."[30]

IRI NextForm[edit]

NextForm is a data migration spin-off from CoSort functionality designed to convert between structured file formats such as CSV, ISAM, LDIF, and XML,[31] plus data types such as ASCII, EBCDIC, Unicode, and Packed Decimal.[32] Newer NextForm editions can structure data in unstructured sources, convert COBOL Vision files, and facilitate database migration.[33]

IRI FieldShield[edit]

FieldShield is a CoSort spin-off designed to protect data privacy.[34] The software protects personally identifiable information and other private data at the field or record level within database tables, files and other sources subject to data spill.[35] Privacy functions include AES encryption, data masking, and pseudonymization. Job details can be audited from a log file in XML format.[36]

IRI RowGen[edit]

RowGen is designed to generate test data in production table, file, and report formats for prototype database population, compliance, outsourcing, and application prototyping projects.[37][38] RowGen's GUI parses data models to define table layouts and relationships so database test sets are structurally and referentially correct.[39] RowGen can also transform and format test data during its generation.[40]

IRI Workbench[edit]

The Workbench is a graphical user interface (GUI) and integrated development environment (IDE) for all IRI software products, built on Eclipse™. The Workbench is a free, optional place to design, run, and manage data connections,[41] metadata, and jobs, and to use third-party plug-ins for business intelligence, data modeling, version control, etc.


  1. ^ Wilkinson, Stephanie, "Applications", UNIX Today! (November 14, 1988)
  2. ^ Miller, David B., DP Labs: "A Better Sort of Sort", HP Professional 7(2) (February 1993)
  3. ^ IPFrontline Article (June 11, 2007)
  4. ^ Complex Joins and Lookups Now Run Outside a DBMS, Information Management Online (August 21, 2007)
  5. ^ "CoSort v9", IBM Systems Magazine (November 2007)
  6. ^ Munshi, Renee, "CoSort Adds Data Protection at the Field Level", WindowsITPro (June 14, 2007)
  7. ^ "IRI web site". Retrieved July 21, 2009. 
  8. ^ "3CON Brazil News". 
  9. ^ "Infrastructure Partners". 
  10. ^ "IBM System z Linux Products". 
  11. ^ "Fujitsu Solutions Catalog". 
  12. ^ "Intel Early Release Program". 
  13. ^ "SUSE Linux YES Certification". 
  14. ^ "Microsoft Mainframe Migration Partners". 
  15. ^ Information Management Magazine (July 2008)
  16. ^ Information Management Magazine (July 2005)
  17. ^ Information Management Magazine (July/Aug 2009)
  18. ^ Information Management Magazine (Jan/Feb 2009)
  19. ^ Beall, Scott. K & Hodges, Robert L., Sort/Merge: Software Comparison Columns, Gartner Research DPRO-91136 (July 16, 2002)
  20. ^ Global Research Partners (July 23, 2007)
  21. ^ (April 24, 2006)
  22. ^ IRI company history (retrieved August 1, 2009)
  23. ^ “DM Review 100", DM Review, 10(12), (December 2000)
  24. ^ "IRI Whitepaper, "Third-Party Sort Replacement and Conversion Tool Examples"". 
  25. ^ Product Brief, Software Magazine (May 1992)
  26. ^ ITToolbox, Oracle Database Connections (June 25, 2009)
  27. ^ Hill, Dennis M., "CoSort: The Emerging ETL Engine", Database Trends (July, 1999)
  28. ^ Burleson, Donald K., "Hypercharging Oracle Data Loading" (February 1, 2004)
  29. ^ High Speed Oracle Data Extract and Reload. Burleson Consulting
  30. ^ Friedman, Ted, et al., "Magic Quadrant for Data Integration Tools", Gartner Report (September 22, 2008)
  31. ^ JAXenter Portal, IT Republik (June 11, 2007)
  32. ^ COBOL User Group, File Conversion Tools (retrieved August 3, 2009)
  33. ^ CoSort Journal (March, 2014)
  34. ^ "". 
  35. ^ Jarvis, Darick, "5 Tips for Protecting Sensitive Data", Data Storage Connection (September 4, 2007)
  36. ^ Koopman, James, "Are You Compliant within Flat File Processing?" (April 13, 2009)
  37. ^ "IBM PartnerWorld Global Solutions Directory". 
  38. ^ OTN Partner News, Oracle Magazine (March, 2008)
  39. ^ SQL Server Magazine (November, 2008)
  40. ^ Information Management Magazine (July, 2007)
  41. ^ 136 Data Sources and Targets (IRI Web Site, July, 2014)

External links[edit]