"While the specifics still need to be hammered out," said a source close to the talks, "there will be a strategic selling arrangement that would involve EMC's midrange Clariion storage systems."
The deal follows the closure this past May of Dell's San Jose offices, which it acquired when it bought ConvergeNet, a storage specialist. ConvergeNet has been Dell's first, and only, acquisition to date.
EMC is the undisputed champion of the storage world, but several competitors, including Round Rock, Texas-based Dell, have been trying to make inroads into the market.
Earlier this Spring, Dell announced that its high-end storage products now work with Windows servers from IBM, Compaq Computer and Hewlett-Packard. EMC also has its own troubles, as it struggles to regain its footing amid an economic slowdown and growing competition from Sun Microsystems, IBM and Hitachi Data Systems.
Sony cut a deal in April to use EMC's lower-end storage products as part of computing equipment it sells to broadcasting companies needing to edit videos digitally. Sony said it would sell EMC's Clariion products, rebranded with its own logo, as part of its XPRI editing system.