Barefoot Networks is a developer of Ethernet network switch chips. The Company launched in 2016 after two years of developing technology that built switch silicon with a forwarding plane that is defined in software. The new chip sits inside networking switches, which are hardware devices that play a fundamental role in directing traffic across the Internet. Switches shuttle data between the thousands of computers operated by everyone from app makers like Google and Facebook to wireless providers like AT&T. The Barefoot chip changes these devices in a significant way by permitting anyone to program the chips. In other words, programmers can write software that changes what the Barefoot chip does, much like any programmer can write an app that changes what an iPhone or other device does. Through this technology, Barefoot aims to empower network owners and their infrastructure partners to design, optimize, and innovate to meet their specific requirements and gain competitive advantages. Moreover, in combining the P4 programming language with fast programmable switches, Barefoot claims to have also created an ecosystem for compilers, tools, and P4 programs to make P4 more accessible.
Barefoot Networks is headquartered in Silicon Valley and is backed by Google Inc., Goldman Sachs Principal Strategic Investments, Alibaba, Tencent, and by venture capital firms including Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Andreessen Horowitz.
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