Intel has acquired (June 11, 2019) Barefoot Networks, which makes processors for Ethernet switches and networking gear. When it launched out of stealth just three years ago, Barefoot Networks was hailed as a company that would transform the way a generation of computing giants like Facebook, Alphabet, Amazon and Microsoft would function while making chip manufacturers like Intel and networking companies like Cisco take notice.
Why Intel Acquires Barefoot?
Barefoot Networks flagship product is Tofino, which uses Protocol Independent Switch Architecture. In a blog post, Intel said Barefoot Networks will help it innovate on interconnects in data centers and cloud networking.
It’s a sign of just how important cloud computing has become, and an opportunity for Intel to stake more of a claim in the networking space after losing ground to the GPU manufacturers whose chipsets have been in demand since the rise of gaming, graphics, and artificial intelligence made them ascendant.
Essentially, Barefoot Networks chips allow its customers to program whatever functionality they need on to the networking chips that Barefoot sells them.
With the acquisition, Intel adds a core knowledge set around p4-programmable high speed data paths, switch silicon development, P4 compilers, drivers oftware, network telemetry and computational networking.
It competes with Broadcom, will help it target hyperscale and networking customers. Intel’s purchase comes after Nvidia acquired Mellanox.
About Barefoot Network
Barefoot launched in 2016 and led by Craig Barratt, CEO Barefoot Networks is a provider of Ethernet switch silicon and software for use in the data center, specializing in the programmability and flexibility necessary to meet the performance needs of the hyperscale cloud. It will add deep expertise in cloud network architectures, P4-programmable high-speed data paths, switch silicon development, P4 compilers, driver software, network telemetry and computational networking.
The company was backed by Google Inc., Goldman Sachs Principal Strategic Investments, Alibaba, Tencent, and by premier venture capital firms Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Andreessen Horowitz.