Intel Buys Barefoot Networks to Take on Broadcom

Intel is purchasing Barefoot Networks for their Ethernet fabric programmable switch technology and will help Intel’s Data Center Group meet the rapidly-changing needs of hyperscale cloud customers.

Navin Shenoy, executive vice president and general manager of the Data Center Group at Intel Corporation said:

Navin Shenoy is executive vice president and general manager of the Data Center Group at Intel Corporation. (Credit: Intel Corporation)

Intel’s customers operate in a world that is growing and transforming by leaps and bounds. We’ve discussed previously the amazing fact that over half of the world’s data was generated in the past two years and only 2% of that data has been analyzed. Driven by that reality, 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.
An essential part of the equation is providing data center 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.
With this in mind, Intel has signed an agreement to acquire Barefoot Networks, an emerging leader in Ethernet switch silicon and software for use in the data center, specializing in the programmability and flexibility necessary to meet the performance and ever-changing needs of the hyperscale cloud. Upon close, 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 center customers.

Some of the use-cases of the technology are advanced network telemetry, layer 4 load balancing and in-network DDoS detection. The idea is the company brings advanced technology like AI and ML to networking – but at the processor level.

The company says the Barefoot P4 Studio is dramatically different from SDKs provided with fixed function ASICs. It provides a complete suite of tools for development, debugging and optimizing P4 applications. In addition, the device and abstraction APIs allow developers to easily integrate their P4 applications with the local or remote control plane. These tools and APIs enable OEMs, cloud operators, telecom operators, and ecosystem partners to build highly differentiating fit-for-purpose networking solutions.


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