Sarvega gives Intel a device that can look at the content of a message and send it to the appropriate point on a network.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Sarvega, based in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., posted $7 million in revenue in 2003 and lists Intel as one of the supporters that contributed to Sarvega's $20 million venture capital fund.
The 5-year-old Sarvega has developed what it calls an "XML router," a device that can look at the content of a message using Extensible Markup Language and send it to the appropriate point on a network.
An XML router is meant to complement the IP routers and switches that carry the streams of data traffic across the Internet, Sarvega said.
Industry analysts at ZapThink have projected that XML-based Internet and corporate network traffic will grow from 15 percent in 2004 to almost 50 percent in 2008.
Sarvega's offerings, such as its Guardian security products, Context routers, Speedway processing products, and XESOS core technology compete with similar products from Cisco Systems, Extreme Networks and Foundry Networks.
Intel has tried to sell full-fledged hardware devices before, not just chips, and the result mostly hasn't been pretty. The chipmaking giant purchased Xircom back in March 2001 and then eventually dismantled the company to get at Xircom's adapters for handhelds and mobile PCs.
It also sold its own brand of XML server appliances in 2000, but subsequently got out of the business.
Intel said it would continue to offer and support the current Sarvega product line as part of its Intel Software and Solutions Group. Sarvega employees including Sarvega CEO Christopher Darby have been invited to stay on.
Intel said the purchase will help its enterprise product family, but the chipmaker was vague on whether Sarvega's technology would be used in concert with Xeon or Itanium processors or if it would only be used in Intel's networking processor family.