Dell today announced that it would purchase 3Par, a data storage and management firm, for about $1.15 billion. Dell is offering $18 a share in cash, an 87 percent premium over 3Par’s $9.65 Friday closing price.

The deal would give Dell a stronger presence in the storage market and make it a competitor to HP, IBM, and others. 3Par provides “a leading, virtualized, utility storage platform” — all the right buzzwords these days — and promises to help Dell’s customers reduce their total data storage costs by 50 percent. Its products are designed to help customers efficiently buy and use the right amount of storage, and are also geared towards minimizing power consumption and energy costs.

3Par joins Dell’s storage offerings, which includes its PowerVault and EqualLogic servers. Dell plans to maintain and invest in the company’s engineering and sales capabilities. 3Par’s operations will remain in Fremont, Calif.

3Par has raised over $183 million since its founding in 1999, with backing by Integral Capital Partners, Alliance Bernstein, Open Field Capital, Mayfield Fund, Worldview Technology Partners, Menlo Ventures, and Van Wagoner Capital Management. It went public in 2007, even though it was losing money at the time.