Intel buys Barefoot Networks for Ethernet switch chips and software

Barefoot Networks brings Intel its P4 programmable chips. (Pixabay)

Intel signed a deal to acquire Barefoot Networks primarily for its Ethernet switch silicon and software used in data centers.

The acquisition, announced Monday, helps Intel provide hyperscale cloud customers with programming capabilities and flexibility, said Navin Shenoy, general manager of Intel’s Data Center Group, in a blog. Terms of the deal were not announced; it is expected to close in the third quarter.

Shenoy called Barefoot Networks “a great complement to our existing connectivity options” with one of the most talented and experienced teams in the industry. Barefoot Networks CEO Craig Barratt and the Barefoot staff of about 200 will join Intel.

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Barefoot Networks adds expertise in cloud network architectures, P4-programmable high-speed data paths, switch silicon development, P4 compilers, driver software, network telemetry and computational networking, Shenoy added. Santa Clara, California-based Barefoot Networks was founded in 2013 by chief scientist and Stanford University Prof. Nick McKeown, CTO Pat Bosshart and Chief Development Officer Dan Lenoski.

RELATED: Barefoot Networks gears up for AI, 5G with P4 and its Tofino chip

The company makes a family of Tofino fully programmable ASICS for Ethernet switching.

As of last fall, Barefoot Networks had raised $150 million from various investors including Sequoia Capital, Google Cloud, Tencent, Alibaba, Dell and HPE.

Intel has been broadly focusing on ways to help customers move, store and process data quickly and efficiently, with just 2% of the world’s data analyzed, even as half of all data was created in the past two years. In April, Intel announced availability of its second-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor, which features AI inference acceleration.

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