HOPKINTON, Mass. — The data storage company EMC (NYSE: EMC) says it has agreed to buy Isilon (Nasdaq: ISLN) for $2.25 billion in cash.

EMC, which has major operations in the Research Triangle Park, N.C. area, is offering $33.85 per share for the Seattle-based company, a 29 percent premium over Isilon Systems Inc.’s previous closing share price of $26.29.

In July, EMC acquired storage firm Greenplum as Dell, IBM, HP and others compete for business in the fast-growing data sector.

EMC says Isilon will expand the breadth of products it can offer customers for storing big amounts of data involved in applications such as gene sequencing and streaming online video.

“The unmistakable waves of cloud computing and ‘Big Data’ are upon us,” Joe Tucci, chairman and chief executive officer of EMC, said in a statement. “Customers are looking for new ways to store, protect, secure and add intelligence to the vast amounts of information they will accumulate over the next decade. EMC, in combination with Isilon, sits at the intersection of these trends with leading products, solutions and services to help customers get the absolute most out of what cloud computing has to offer.”

EMC defined “Big Data” as “a term used to describe the massive amount of data produced by a new generation of applications in markets such as life sciences (e.g. gene sequencing), media and entertainment (e.g. online streaming), and oil and gas (e.g. seismic interpretation) to name a few.”

In a statement, EMC says the boards of both companies have approved the deal and it expects to close the acquisition by year-end.

Isilon shares surged 18 percent in premarket trading after the New York Post first reported the deal.

Read the EMC announcement here.

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