Comms chips

Tencent, Alibaba Pour $$ Into Barefoot

Startup Barefoot Networks has closed a third round of funding, pulling in $20 million from a set of investors that includes Tencent and Alibaba.

Google and Goldman Sachs led the company's previous round of funding, which netted the company $57 million. With the new Series C infusion, the company has collected at total of $150 million in venture capital.

Barefoot has developed the world's first programmable switch. The company claims its new Tofino chip will set a new speed record, processing packets at 6.5 Terabytes per second, roughly double the speed of the previous record holder. (See Innovations: First Programmable Switch Chip Threatens to Roil Multiple Markets)

The company expects to deliver the first samples of its chips to customers within the next few weeks, Ed Doe, Barefoot vice president, product and strategy, told Light Reading.

Doe said the company's big corporate investors -- Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Goldman Sachs & Co. , Tencent Inc. , and Alibaba Group -- are all customers.

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"Many of our lead customers have already designed their hardware and are just waiting to drop the chips in," Doe said.

These are companies putting extraordinary demands on their data centers, which makes them eager to adopt the latest, greatest new technologies. Data centers would be attracted to the speed gains that the Tofino is warranted to provide, but they could perform a lot of neat tricks with programmability too.

Doe said he expects the Tofino to appear first in products from white box providers and ODMs. It would then likely be used by large cloud providers internally, and finally the company would expect some of the leading OEMs and equipment manufacturers to adopt it.

— Brian Santo, Senior Editor, Components, T&M, Light Reading

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