Secure64 Software has released software to turn an Itanium 2 server into a secure DNS appliance it claims can handle 100,000 queries per second.

Rather than strip down and harden an existing operating system such as Windows or Linux to make it run faster and more securely, Secure64 developed its own minimalist OS, SourceT, to exploit some of the hardware security features of Intel 's 64-bit Itanium 2 processor.

SourceT authenticates its own code when the server is booted up, a process that makes the system immune to rootkits and similar malware, Secure64 said.

Since unnecessary functions have been stripped out of the OS, dedicated systems running it can consume less electricity to deliver the same performance as those running other operating systems, Secure64 said.

The DNS appliance software is priced at $9,995, excluding the cost of the hardware required to run it. Secure64 will initially only support the software on Hewlett-Packard Co.'s Integrity rx2660 server, an Itanium 2 system available in either pedestal or rack-mounted forms.

Secure64 DNS is the first product the Greenwood Village, Colorado, has released for its SourceT OS. Its choice of hardware partner is perhaps no coincidence: Secure64 Chief Technology Officer William S. Worley retired from HP in 2002, where he had served as chief scientist and played a role in the development of the PA-RISC and PA-Wide-Word processor architectures.