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Intel delves deeper into the network with Barefoot Networks buy

Intel delves deeper into the network with Barefoot Networks buy

Barefoot came to market with its P4 programmable Ethernet switch chips

Intel is beefing up its networking play through the acquisition of US-based start-up Barefoot Networks.

The company was launched in 2016 following two years of developing its 6.5Tb/s P4-programmable Ethernet switch chip, called Tofino.

Through combining the P4 open source programming language with fast programmable switches, Barefoot created an ecosystem of compilers, tools and P4 code.

According to Intel executive vice president and general manager of the data centre group Navin Shenoy the acquisition 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.

“Most importantly, this is one of the most talented and experienced teams in this domain in the industry. We look forward to welcoming Craig Barratt and his team to the Intel family once the transaction closes, which is expected to be in the third quarter of 2019,” Shenoy said in a blog post.

“We look forward to serving Barefoot Networks’ current customers, and to introducing its innovative programmable networking paradigm to more customers around the world.”

Shenoy explained the acquisition was driven by a "reality" that half the world’s data was generated in two years, and only two per cent of that data has been analysed.

“We’re always asking ourselves how we can better enable our customers to harness the potential of this data, by moving, storing and processing it with the speed and efficiency that they demand,” Shenoy said.

“An essential part of the equation is providing data centre interconnects that can keep pace with our customers’ extraordinary and growing requirements. This is why interconnect is one of our six technology pillars in which we are investing to serve our customers.

“The addition of Barefoot Networks will support our focus on end-to-end cloud networking and infrastructure leadership, and will allow Intel to continue to deliver on new workloads, experiences and capabilities for our data centre customers.”

In February, newly minted Intel CEO Robert Swan said it will be “bold and fearless,” in its strategy of transforming from a PC-centric to a data-centric company remains unchanged, that it must continue to execute, and that it must continue to evolve its culture -- boldly.


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