sQ Server

sQ Server

Universal High Resolution video production servers



The broadcasting landscape has never been so competitive and full of opportunities for true media innovators. Today there are more ways to reach more people on more devices, in many more places. SAM is the perfect partner to help you to fully realize these opportunities – with file-based workflows in SD, HD or UHD. We have enormous experience in helping forward-looking broadcasters around the world deliver great news, sports, home shopping – in fact any fast- turnaround programming. The sQ video server distributes high quality broadcast content across an array of delivery platforms quickly and efficiently.

SAM’s integrated production systems with sQ at the heart, are in daily use across the globe with leading media organizations for regional, national and international production. The BBC, ESPN, Fox, TV2 (Norway), News Express (India), TRK (Ukraine), QVC, Botswana TV, NDR, ERTU (Egypt), NRK, BSkyB, Australian News Channel, WDR and Channel 7 are just a few of the organizations who have built their businesses on SAM Enterprise sQ.

Media production server

The sQ Server is a compact 3RU video storage server containing all the components required for acquiring, storing and managing content in a shared production workflow.

sQ Server RU

The sQ Sever is supplied in two variants, one with internal storage and the other which supports one or up to four external storage units. They are known as sQ 1200 and sQ 1800 respectively.

 sQ 1200 and sQ 1800

The sQ 1200 and sQ 1800 are otherwise functionally identical, supporting the full range of workflows. The sQ 1200 contains a single RAID set of 7 data and I parity disks. The sQ 1800 uses external SAS eBOD and contains 24 disks split across three RAID sets in a RAID 30 arrangement. RAID 30 is specifically designed for high-bandwidth file transfers and high availability, as demanded by video production systems. The servers and RAID units have dual power supplies and the disks are hot-swappable.

sQ Zoning

sQ servers are configured into resilient production units, called ‘Zones’. A Zone may be built of one or more sQ 1200 or sQ 1800 units, to provide scaling of ingest and output ports, bandwidth to support editing workstations and video storage capacity.

A Zone is managed by a resilient management unit we call an ‘ISA Manager’ (ISA = Integrated Server Architecture), which is a Windows application running on a dedicated pair of resilient servers, as shown above.

Production systems requiring extensive video handling may be constructed with multiple Zones for additional resilience. Communications between the ISA Managers ensures that users have access to all content across the Zones.

The sQ Server is a production unit, designed to work with moving images and sound. It is engineered to work within an IT infrastructure, but it understands media.

A scaled solution requires both broadcast quality files and an associated proxy (H.264) to be created simultaneously and managed as strictly and carefully as the synchronisation between pictures and sound. This is a key function of the sQ server and the associated ISA Manager; both qualities of media are guaranteed to remain locked together. An editing selection made in one is instantly and automatically conformed in the other.

The sQ server lays down the media on the RAID storage, with every frame (or group of frames) identifiable. This is the key to the speed of editing provided by SAM VIBE.

sQ Servers are the video interface for SAM VIBE

SAM’s sQ server technology has always led the world for ease of use, speed and reliability. We’ve built SAM VIBE to carry these values and the sQ server is at the heart of this. To meet the demands of the changing environment and to remain competitive, content creators need a production system which can place content in front of their entire audience. They need a solution built for the speed of the web and built on the technology of the web.

SAM VIBE uses sQ Servers when a realtime video interface is required, whether for recording or playback. They are complemented in VIBE by generic IT storage, handling content in every size and format in a unified workflow.


Fileflow 3

File exchange between IT infrastructure and sQ Server

FileFlow is an option for sQ that provides automated or manual ingest/export of many broadcast camera or file formats to and from sQ. Fileflow can export essence files either the same native sQ codec (transwrap) or transcode to one of many different file formats and codecs.

Fileflow uses a client/server architecture via HTTP ‘RESTful’ API to control and monitor the queue and status of file I/O jobs being processed.

Portable Configuration Management

System settings and engineering monitoring are provided through a new Configuration page.

The main components are Fileflow Manager, ingest/export Job queue, Search, ISA Listener, Folder Watcher and Fileflow Engine(s).

Fileflow 3


Fileflow 3 - Technical summary

  • sQ Fileflow is a file exchange system for sQ systems
  • Scalable, resilient architecture
  • Queue-based job management
  • Independent processing engines
  • Web services API
  • Transcoding between broadcast codecs
  • Enhanced config management providing robust reuse of configuration and workflows.
  • Administrator web page for queue management
  • Manual drag/drop from qualified editing workstations
  • Automated exports based on metadata triggers
  • Controlled by Momentum and third-party MAM

sQ Series 1000 Overview

  • 100% compatible with existing sQ Servers
  • sQ 1000 series are smaller, more powerful and lower cost
  • 3G or 12G SDI, 16 channel audio, more storage, more disk bandwidth
  • IP sQ for internal and external storage configurations
  • Cost is approximately 40% lower than previous generation
  • SDI recordings, file ingest, editors, SDI playout and file export via Fileflow 3
  • 2.5x faster than realtime for file ingests and delta frames
  • All software codecs - agile support more future formats
  • 10G or 4x1G Ethernet Network
  • Easier integration into modern IT


  • Uses 12G SAS controller and the latest SAS drives
  • 8x Storage in 2/3 space in comparison to legacy systems
  • 3x disk performance than previous generation
  • sQ 1200 has internal storage around 200 HD hours* or 38 UHD hours**
  • sQ 1800 has external (2U) storage around 600 HD hours* per array
  • New 4RU sQ 1300 (IP 2022-6) has internal storage around 200 HD hours* or 38 UHD hours**
  • New 4RU sQ 1900 (IP 2022-6) has external (2U) storage around 600 HD hours* per array

Server Options

  • Up to 12 ports of 3G I/O, 4 ports Quad 3G UHD I/O or 4 ports of 12G UHD I/O
  • AVC Intra, XAVC Intra and 1080p, 2160p
  • MPEG-1 or H.264 browse
  • Up to 4 arrays per server for a massive 2,400 HD hours* per sQ1800/1900


  • 3RU
  • Front Loading
  • Individual card cooling
  • sQ 1200/1300 has Internal SAS storage, sQ 1800/1900 has external SAS Array
  • Dual redundant hot swap PSUs
  • Simple back panel layout

Main System Connections

sQ SAS Array

  • External storage array providing up to 600 HD hours*
  • 24 x 1.8TB enterprise class SAS drives
  • Raid 30: 3 x (7+1 parity)
  • 12Gb SAS Interface
  • Dual PSU
  • Up to 4 sQ SAS arrays per sQ server providing 2,400 HD hours*
  • Easily expand storage capacity by adding more sQ SAS arrays - No restriping required
  • Mix and match latest 1.8TB drive arrays with previous 900GB drive arrays

Formats and Standards Supported

  • SD-SDI, HD-SDI & 3G
  • HD Formats - all in 50/59.94Hz):
    • XAVC Intra Class 50 & 100: 720p, 1080i, 1080p
    • XAVC Intra Class 300: 2160p
    • AVC Intra Class 50 & 100: 720p, 1080i, 1080p
    • AVC Intra Class 100 1080p
    • DVCPRO HD: 720p, 1080i
  • SD Formats:
    • IMX 30/40/50 Mbps: 625i (50Hz), 525i (59.94Hz)
    • DVCPRO 25/50: 525i59.94, 625i50
  • Unrestricted mixed format on playout
  • LBR Codecs
    • MPEG-1 (1.5 Mbps) or MPEG-4/H.264 (2.5 Mbps)

* HD hours = AVCI 100Mb/s + 8ch 24bit 48KHz audio
** UHD hours = XAVCi 600Mb/s + 8ch 24bit 48KHz audio


Comparison Table

Feature sQ 1200  sQ 1200 12G sQ 1800 
Size 3U 3U 3U + 2U per array
Storage  Internal,
max 200 HD hrs or
max 38 UHD hrs
External Only,
600 HD hrs * per array.
Max 2,400 HD hrs*
External Storage array 0 Up to 4
Video ports  12 (3G) 1080i or
8 (3G 1080p or
4 Quad (3G)
12 (3G) 1080pi or
8 (3G) 1080p or
4 (12G) 2160p
Up to 12 (3G)
3G SDI  Yes  No Yes 
12G SDI No Yes No
HDD Disks Yes Yes Yes
SSD Disks
used for 1080p and 2160p)
Yes Yes No
Max audio channels  16 16 16  
Browse create  2-3 x real time per Engine,multiple Engines 
Network  Dual 10 G Ethernet or Quad 1Gb Ethernet
Video formats  SD, 720p, 1080i, 1080p, 2160p SD, 720p, 1080i, 1080p 
Compression IMX, DVCPRO, DVCPROHD, AVCI & XAVC, Class 50, Class 100, DNxHD
Codec technology FPGA hardware

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