Covisint grabs deals with Sun, Exodus

Summary:The big automaker's online exchange will run its Web sites and database servers on Sun's Unix technology, and it taps Exodus to handle all of its Web hosting needs.

Covisint, the online business exchange being cobbled together by the leading automakers, came a couple of steps closer to flicking the "on" switch, announcing deals Monday with Sun Microsystems for servers and software and with Exodus Communications for Web hosting.

As previously reported by CNET News.com, Exodus will run all of the auto exchange's Web operations globally, including facilities, security, storage and network services.

Covisint, which last month hired a chief executive after an 18-month search, picked Sun's Unix technology to run its Web sites, application and database servers in their data centers in the United States and Europe.

The exchange Covisint is building is expected to be a central marketplace for parts auctions and project collaboration among as many as 40,000 companies doing business with the automobile industry. These companies supply automakers with everything from office supplies to chemicals.

Covisint executives say that when fully operational, the exchange will handle up to $750 billion in annual transactions.

But the exchange has been slow to get rolling, mired with technological complexity, administrative bickering and a souring market for business-to-business exchanges.

Sun said the company selected its technology specifically because of Sun's open standards, which will allow them to navigate the hurdles necessary to support a global exchange. Some technology companies argue that open Web standards and open software, like Linux, will make it easier for conflicting computer systems and software to communicate across networks such as the Internet.

Southfield, Mich.-based Covisint is backed by automakers DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor, General Motors, Nissan and Renault, and software makers Commerce One and Oracle. The company's European headquarters is in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Topics: Software, Collaboration, Data Centers, Linux, Operating Systems, Oracle, Servers, Storage

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