Korean electronics giant Samsung today announced that it had begun manufacturing 3-bit MLC (multi-level-cell) NAND solid-state drives (SSDs) aimed at data centers — a first according to the company.

The new PM853T SSD follows the company’s consumer 3-bit 840 EVO SSD, which first debuted in 2012, according to Samsung’s Young-Hyun Jun, executive vice president of memory sales and marketing. Samsung employed new manufacturing techniques and advancements in flash memory controllers to bring the reliability and performance of 2-bit flash to the low-end consumer grade tech.

Jun said in a statement that the company’s “new 3-bit SSD for data centers will help considerably in expanding the market base for SSDs.” When released, the SSD is poised to deliver “significant improvements in data center investment efficiency,” added Jun. Samsung is also expecting the “full-fledged commercialization of SSDs in IT systems later this year.”

The PM853T is capable of sequential of read speeds of 530 MB per second and sequential writes of 420 MB per second. The SSD is rated at 90,000 random read input/outputs per second (IOPS) and 14,000 IOPS in sustained random writes.

Produced using 10-nanometer (nm) process technologies, Samsung envisions that that the SSDs will improve efficiency in data center servers that provide social networking, Web content and email. When the PM853T arrives later this year, it will be available in capacities of 240 GB, 480 GB and 960 GB.

Samsung said in its announcement that the company “expects the adoption of 3-bit SSDs in data centers to advance rapidly in replacing the 2-bit SSD market.” It’s a safe bet, provided that the tech meets the enterprise-grade storage requirements of data center operators.

Citing data from market research firm IHS iSuppli, Samsung expects the global SSD market to grow 30 percent to $12.4 billion this year. By 2017, SSD sales are predicted to hit $20 billion.

Samsung isn’t the only electronics manufacturer that is eyeing the growing market for enterprise flash storage.

Toshiba last year announced plans to acquire bankrupt flash storage provider OCZ whose product portfolio includes the MLC-based Talos 2 SAS line of SSDs. It now operates as a subsidiary called OCZ Storage Solutions. In February, Toshiba unveiled its new line of HG6 SSDs that targets Ultrabooks at the low end, all the way up to data center servers.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InfoStor. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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