Dell has agreed to acquire virtualised storage provider 3par for about $1.15 billion, a move that will boost its capabilities for building public and private cloud computing environments. The deal is expected to close later this year.

3par's Utility Storage platform dramatically cuts administrative, power and space costs over traditional storage arrays, according to the company. It is used by seven of the world's top-10 grossing managed service providers, according to a statement.

Dell's $3.9 billion acquisition last year of system integrator Perot Systems showed it has serious designs of its own for that market.

The 3PAR deal is just the latest move by Dell to flesh out a stack of enterprise data centre technologies, coming shortly after announcements it would buy server provisioning vendor Scalent and storage optimisation provider Ocarina Networks.