[Iris is a system out of HP Labs that began as a prototype and eventually became a commercial product. I believe it was eventually incorporated into the new HP product, OpenODB. - clamen]
Long and short system summaries can be found in:
[FISH89] D.H. Fishman et. al. Overview of the Iris DBMS. In Won. Kim and Frederick H. Lochovsky, editors, Object-Oriented Concepts, Databases and Applications, chapter 10, pages 219--250. Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA, 1989.
[FBC+87] D.H. Fishman, D. Beech, H.P. Cate, E.C. Chow, T. Connors, J.W. Davis, N. Derrett, C.G. Hock, W. Kent, P. Lyngbaek, B. Mahbod, M.A. Neimat, T.A. Tyan, and M.C. Shan. Iris: An object-oriented database management system. ACM Transactions on Office Information Systems, 5(1):48--69, January 1987.
The abstract of the latter (written early in the project) follows:
The Iris database management system is a research prototype of a next-generation database management system intended to meet the needs of new and emerging database applications, including office automation and knowledge-based systems, engineering test and measurement, and hardware and software design. Iris is exploring a rich set of new database capabilities required by these applications, including rich data-modeling constructs, direct database support for inference, novel and extensible data types, for example to support graphic images, voice, text, vectors, and matrices, support for long transactions spanning minutes to many days, and multiple versions of data. These capabilities are, in addition to the usual support for permanence of data, controlled sharing, backup and recovery.
The Iris DBMS consists of (1) a query processor that implements the Iris object-oriented data model, (2) a Relational Storage Subsystem (RSS) -like storage manager that provides access paths and concurrency control, backup and recovery, and (3) a collection of programmatic and interactive interfaces. The data model supports high-level structural abstractions, such as classification, generalization, and aggregation, as well as behavioral abstractions. The interfaces to Iris include an object-oriented extension to SQL.
On Schema Evolution (from original survey): Objects in the Iris system may acquire or lose types dynamically. Thus, if an object no longer matches a changed definition, the user can choose to remove the type from the object instead of modifying the object to match the type. In general, Iris tends to restrict class modifications so that object modifications are not necessary. For example, a class cannot be removed unless it has no instances and new supertype-subtype relationships cannot be established.
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