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LobsterPot Solutions™ is proud to be a Gold Competency Partner in the Microsoft Partner Network.

Welcome to
LobsterPot.


Improving your data story.

LobsterPot Solutions™ is a SQL Server and Business Intelligence consultancy with staff in the United States and Australia, offering consultancy and training services. LobsterPot Solutions specializes in SQL Server, including performance tuning, Business Intelligence, and more.
We can turn your data into information.

LobsterPot Solutions is a company of firsts. When the Microsoft Partner Network went live, we were the first company in Australia to become a Gold Competency Partner, the first in the world to gain the Gold Competency in Business Intelligence. Since then we have become the first to employ three Australian SQL MVPs, the first company in the whole Asian region to have an APS / PDW trainer on staff, and have been involved in training other trainers in the region.

Performance Tuning

Performance Tuning

Dashboards and Reporting

Dashboards/Reporting

Proofs of Concept

Proofs of Concept

More Services here.  

News and Events

Another US hire – welcome Mickey Stuewe!

The US side of LobsterPot Solutions is going well, and we have brought on another staff member. We’re hugely excited to announce that we’ve hired well-known SQL expert Mickey Stuewe!

Mickey fits into the LobsterPot culture really well. Not only is she a recognised expert in SQL Server, with a history in training (she has been a Microsoft Certified Professional longer than almost anyone I know, and has been a Microsoft Certified Trainer), but she is very community-minded. She presented an advanced session on Reporting Services at the PASS Summit a couple of months ago, and is the founder of the BI and SQL Server User Group near where she lives in Orange County, California. She blogs, also presents regularly at SQL Saturday events and Red Gate’s SQL in the City events, and was voted the “Best New Community Voice” in last year’s Tribal Awards.

She is a leading light in the SQL Server space, and it’s a tremendous honour to welcome her to LobsterPot Solutions.

Four SQL MVPs – including three in Australia

Today LobsterPot Solutions sets a new first. We are the only company to ever employ three current Australian SQL MVPs, giving us four awardees in total. Congratulations to Martin Cairney who joins Julie Koesmarno (AUS), Ted Krueger (USA) and Rob Farley (AUS) as recipients of this prestigious award. This demonstrates LobsterPot’s ongoing commitment to the SQL Server community, that show that our consultants are truly influential in the SQL world.MVP_FullColor_ForScreen

From Microsoft’s website about MVPs:
Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals, or MVPs are exceptional community leaders who actively share their high-quality, real-world deep technical expertise with the community and with Microsoft. They are committed to helping others get the most out of their experience with Microsoft products and technologies.
Technical communities play a vital role in the adoption and advancement of technology—and in helping our customers do great things with our products. The MVP Award provides us with an opportunity to say thank you and to bring the voice of community into our technology roadmap.

This fits very closely with LobsterPot’s desire to help people with their data story. We help with the adoption and advancement of SQL Server, and help customers do great things with data. It’s no surprise that we see a high proportion of LobsterPot consultants are MVP awardees.

Merry Christmas

I just wanted to take a moment to wish a Merry Christmas to you: people in the SQL Community; people I see at clients and the like; and especially those people I am incredibly privileged to have working at possibly the best SQL Consultancy in the world.

To those who I have represent my brand: I love you guys! You’re all passionate about providing the best experience for our customers, developing the SQL community, and doing amazing things to help people improve their data story. I couldn’t be prouder of you all. Sure, there are times when I lose sleep (and hair) over stuff, but I know that we have each other’s backs, and that’s a brilliant thing. I’ve often likened us to that story about the tiger in a cage. The best way to defend such a tiger is to let it out of its cage. If I can help enable you, and remove any obstacles that come between you and your ability to be phenomenal, then that’s what I’ll try to do. We all have our different styles, but together I think we can be an incredible force. It’s been a crazy year in many ways, including starting the LobsterPot story in the US (and Ted – you’ve been incredible!), but we have even more exciting times ahead, I’m sure. The Microsoft data stack is developing quicker than ever, and people are using it in bigger and better ways all the time.

Merry Christmas guys. Let’s continue to spread the SQL cheer… :)

@rob_farley

PDW Query Optimization

Recently, Rob wrote a white paper about how some simple changes to a database design in Parallel Data Warehouse can leverage one of the lesser-known Query Optimizer methods, with significant results, removing all data movement from many queries. The paper was published on the Microsoft website at http://blogs.technet.com/b/dataplatforminsider/archive/2014/11/14/aps-best-practice-how-to-optimize-query-performance-by-minimizing-data-movement.aspx

The technique used here is one that may be familiar to experts in Query Optimization, but few people within the PDW space are familiar with it. This is just another reason why you should choose LobsterPot Solutions as your preferred APS / PDW implementation partner.

Event: BI and Predictive Analytics

LobsterPot Solutions is teaming up with Microsoft and Chamonix to bring an event focused on Power BI and Azure ML, on December 8th. For more details, read on.

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This was sent out the other day from Microsoft:

Recently, Microsoft has brought you a number of briefings and events presenting our vision for innovative ways to accessing data and garnering concrete business value from it.

We have demonstrated our vision for ways to search, query, mash-up, share and visualise data that will enable business and government to gain valuable, real insights into their operations and make decisions faster and more accurately. 

Join Microsoft, Chamonix and LobsterPot Solutions, and we will show you how this vision is being executed.

This briefing will cover:

1. Fresh business insights

See Chamonix demonstrate how vast amounts of data can be interpreted easily to identify key indicators to improve and support your operational and strategic decisions. 

2. Easy-to-use analytics tools

LobsterPot Solutions will further extend the value of such data by showing you how the traditionally complex and slow delivery area of predictive analytics is now easy to operate, producing models quickly and without requiring highly specialised and scarce skills.

3. The power of data

See how Microsoft is delivering Software as a Service with innovative capabilities that leverage insights from data  with the same speed at which you run your business or government department.

After this briefing you will have seen how Microsoft’s Business Intelligence vision is a pragmatic way to rapidly deliver business decision support capabilities to the knowledge workers in your organization, using familiar tools and technologies with speed and great value for money.

Register today clip_image001[6]

Suited for those who wish to extract more value from their data assets, to drive new and meaningful insights into the current and future performance of their business or government department.

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Monday 8 December
Microsoft Office
147 Pirie Street, L12

Register today clip_image007[4]

Increase your understanding of modern data insights and predictive tools in a pragmatic, real life context.

3.00pm
Welcome time
3.30pm
Session commences
5.00 pm
Session concludes & refreshments served

LobsterPot staff are influential, outstanding and valuable

The title of the post says it all, but let me explain why…

It’s not news that LobsterPot has three SQL Server MVPs on staff. Ted received his fifth award earlier in the year, and this month saw Julie get her second award and a ninth for Rob.

But not only that, Julie was recognised as one of Nine Influential Women by Solutions Review magazine, and MartinC received an Outstanding Volunteer Award from the PASS organisation. Ted and Julie have both received this award in the past, and former employee Roger Noble also received this award while he was working for us. It’s all further evidence that LobsterPot staff really are very special.

LobsterPot Solutions in the USA

We’re expanding!

lp_usa_squareI’m thrilled to announce that Microsoft Gold Partner LobsterPot Solutions has started another branch appointing the amazing Ted Krueger (5-time SQL MVP awardee) as the US lead. Ted is well-known in the SQL Server world, having written books on indexing, consulting and on being a DBA (not to mention contributing chapters to both MVP Deep Dives books). He is an expert on replication and high availability, and strong in the Business Intelligence space – vast experience which is both broad and deep.

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Ted is based in the south east corner of Wisconsin, just north of Chicago. He has been a consultant for eons and has helped many clients with their projects and problems, taking the role as both technical lead and consulting lead. He is also tireless in supporting and developing the SQL Server community, presenting at conferences across America, and helping people through his blog, Twitter and more.

Despite all this – it’s neither his technical excellence with SQL Server nor his consulting skill that made me want him to lead LobsterPot’s US venture. I wanted Ted because of his values. In the time I’ve known Ted, I’ve found his integrity to be excellent, and found him to be morally beyond reproach. This is the biggest priority I have when finding people to represent the LobsterPot brand. I have no qualms in recommending Ted’s character or work ethic. It’s not just my thoughts on him – all my trusted friends that know Ted agree about this.

So last week, LobsterPot Solutions LLC was formed in the United States, and in a couple of weeks, we will be open for business!

LobsterPot Solutions can be contacted via email at contact@lobsterpotsolutions.com, on the web at either www.lobsterpot.com.au or www.lobsterpotsolutions.com, and on Twitter as @lobsterpot_au and @lobsterpot_us.

Ted Kruger blogs at LessThanDot, and can also be found on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Australia’s only Parallel Data Warehouse trainer

In fact, not just Australia – but in the whole Asian region!

When Microsoft ran training in Parallel Data Warehouse in Australia, LobsterPot Solutions sent three staff members. PDW is a growing area which is going to be of vital importance for many organisations as they need to meet the needs of ever-expanding data, and naturally of great interest to SQL-centric companies like LobsterPot. Following the course that Rob Farley attended, he travelled to Auckland and became the first PDW trainer in the Asian region outside Microsoft.

Within Australia there are a number of organisations that are now capable of implementing a PDW solution for a customer, but only LobsterPot Solutions can also provide a trainer to make sure that staff have received the necessary training to get the most out of a PDW implementation.

Cloud – the forecast is improving

There is a lot of discussion about “the cloud”, and how that affects people’s data stories.

Over the years, companies have invested a lot in making sure that their data is good, and I mean every aspect of it – the quality of it, the security of it, the performance of it, and more. Experts such as those of us at LobsterPot Solutions have helped these companies with this, and continue to work with clients to make sure that data is a strong part of their business, not an oversight. Whether business intelligence systems are being utilised or not, every business needs to be able to rely on its data, and have the confidence in it. Data should be a foundation upon which a business is built.

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In the past, data had been stored in paper-based systems. Filing cabinets stored vital information. Today, people have server rooms with storage of various kinds, recognising that filing cabinets don’t necessarily scale particularly well. It’s easy to ‘lose’ data in a filing cabinet, when you have people who need to make sure that the sheets of paper are in the right spot, and that you know how things are stored. Databases help solve that problem, but still the idea of a large filing cabinet continues, it just doesn’t involve paper.

If something happens to the physical ‘filing cabinet’, then the problems are larger still. Then the data itself is under threat. Many clients have generators in case the power goes out, redundant cables in case the connectivity dies, and spare servers in other buildings just in case they’re required. But still they’re maintaining filing cabinets.

You see, people like filing cabinets. There’s something to be said for having your data ‘close’. Even if the data is not in readable form, living as bits on a disk somewhere, the idea that its home is ‘in the building’ is comforting to many people. They simply don’t want to move their data anywhere else.

The cloud offers an alternative to this, and the human element is an obstacle.

By leveraging the cloud, companies can have someone else look after their filing cabinet. A lot of people really don’t like the idea of this, partly because the administrators of the data, those people who could potentially log in with escalated rights and see more than they should be allowed to, who need to be trusted to respond if there’s a problem, are now a faceless entity in the cloud.

But this doesn’t mean that the cloud is bad – this is simply a concern that some people may have.

In new functionality that’s on its way, we see other hybrid mechanisms that mean that people can leverage parts of the cloud with less fear. Companies can use cloud storage to hold their backup data, for example, backups that have been encrypted and are therefore not able to be read by anyone (including administrators) who don’t have the right password. Companies can have a database instance that runs locally, but which has its data files in the cloud, complete with Transparent Data Encryption if needed. There can be a higher level of control, making the change easier to accept.

Hybrid options allow people who have had fears (potentially very justifiable) to take a new look at the cloud, and to start embracing some of the benefits of the cloud (such as letting someone else take care of storage, high availability, and more) without losing the feeling of the data being close.

Two SQL MVP awardees at LobsterPot Solutions

LobsterPot Solutions is the only company with two current Australian SQL MVP awardees on staff, after Julie Koesmarno received her first Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award. She joins Rob Farley, who is now an eight-time awardee, as one of only ten SQL MVPs in Australia.

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Microsoft gives this award to “exceptional, independent community leaders who share their passion, technical expertise, and real-world knowledge of Microsoft products with others” (mvp.microsoft.com). The award’s status is extremely high, making it one of the most sought-after awards in the Microsoft ecosystem. Julie joins an elite crew in receiving this, no doubt influenced by her involvement in technical communities in roles such as conference presenter, webinar host and community leader.

Recently relocated to Canberra, Julie is about to jet off to present about Business Intelligence at the PASS Summit, this year held in North Carolina. The PASS Summit is the largest SQL Server event in the world.