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

Welcome to

Improving your data story.

LobsterPot Solutions is an Australian SQL Server and Business Intelligence consultancy, offering consultancy and training services. LobsterPot Solutions specialises in the Microsoft Data Platform, including Power BI, SQL Server and Azure, from data resilience to data analytics, to Big Data and IoT, and of course performance tuning, health checks, and more. With experts in both Melbourne and Adelaide, we can help your organisation become more data-driven.

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


Proofs of Concept

Proofs of Concept

More Services here.  

News and Events

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 2014. For more details, read on.


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.


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.

Welcome time
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.


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.


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.


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.

LobsterPot Solutions appoints Martin Woodcock as General Manager to drive business expansion

martinwMicrosoft Gold Partner LobsterPot Solutions – a leading business intelligence and SQL Server tuning/performance management software consultancy – has announced the appointment of Martin Woodcock as General Manager to underpin its expansion throughout Australia.


Martin has spent the past 5 years providing sales management consulting to clients in Adelaide and Melbourne. Previously he held a variety of positions at Oracle Corporation in Europe, from UK Business Intelligence Sales Manager to Sales Vice President, South-East Europe.

Rob Farley, CEO of LobsterPot Solutions, believes that ‘Martin will bring a great deal of business development experience and his previous track record in business intelligence will supplement our business analysis resources. He will also be responsible for project management’.

Martin ‘looks forward to working alongside Rob and his colleagues – complementing their in-depth technical expertise’. His role will be part-time and he will continue his sales management consultancy with other clients through his own company, Two Hemispheres.

For further information, contact: Martin Woodcock, General Manager, LobsterPot Solutions; martin.woodcock@lobsterpot.com.au; 0414 960559.

Microsoft Certified Master in SQL Server

As mentioned in that earlier post, Rob took the MCM exams recently.MCM5

Well, he passed!

He now joins a very select few people in the world to be both Microsoft Certified Master, Microsoft Certified Trainer and Microsoft Most Valuable Professional. This makes him and LobsterPot an even better fit for your SQL Server projects.


Microsoft Certified Master is described as the top technical certification available in SQL Server. It is so select that Microsoft even lists all the people who have this certification publicly. You’ll see Rob on that list soon too.

Microsoft Certified Trainer indicates that someone not only has sufficient technical expertise , but has the presentation skills and aptitude to be able to teach in a classroom environment. LobsterPot values these skills, and has three MCTs on staff, all able to deliver the highest quality SQL Server training and mentoring for your organisation. This is an important aspect of consulting – being able to explain concepts clearly and effectively.

The Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award is another exclusive award, given out to people who have demonstrated great influence in the technical community. All the LobsterPot staff are involved in the SQL Server community, which is a way that we contribute back to the SQL Server world. It also means that we have an excellent network of resources, just in case.

To have all three is significant. Congratulations Rob.

MCM exam at Academy IT

You won’t find Adelaide’s Academy IT on a list of places you can sit the Microsoft Certified Master exams yet (maybe one day). However, if you choose the remote option for the MCM Lab exam, they can probably help.MCM

Academy IT do training, with easily the best training centre in Adelaide…


…They recently expanded to have a third large training room, with machines that each have 32GB of RAM and dual 23” monitors – one hooked up to the trainer’s desktop and an interactive whiteboard. It’s very impressive, and an excellent option for courses. On top of that, they’re also a great place to take Prometric and Pearson VUE exams – including the Microsoft ones. When the beta exam period came in for SQL Server 2012, LobsterPot Solutions staff used Academy IT’s facilities to take them. Whenever LobsterPot staff need to take any exams, Academy IT is the location of choice.

LobsterPot’s Rob Farley successfully took the SQL Server MCM Knowledge exam (88-970) at the PASS Summit in Seattle. However, the real test with the MCM is the Lab exam. Many people take this exam and fail – passing at the first attempt is rare. Rob took the exam on December 20th, 2012, at Academy IT, using the remote option.

What the remote option means is that the candidate provides their own hardware, with an internet connection and an external web cam. During the session, a web cam broadcasts what’s going on in the room to a proctor, who keeps an eye on both that and what is happening in a LiveMeeting or Lync session, sharing the full screen. It’s like having a test centre without having a test centre. In Rob’s case, the proctor was based in Charlotte, NC, USA.

There are Prometric testing centres venues around the world where the MCM Lab exam can be taken without using the remote option. However, the exam involves a remote desktop session to a computer somewhere else in the world, and there is typically latency hassles. Furthermore, testing centres don’t tend to have a reputation for providing particularly good hardware for their exam machines. Monitors don’t always offer particularly good resolution, and machines are often quite laggy in themselves. We heard stories of a candidate who took the exam just this past week at a testing centre in the US, who had an awful time, losing time from unplanned reboots, an insufficiently large monitor, and more.

Taking the exam at Academy IT won’t stop the latency problem – the signal still needs to get to somewhere in America and back. But Academy IT were able to offer Rob a well-spec’d PC with a large monitor and an easily fast-enough internet connection. As it was, he opted to use his laptop for familiarity of the keyboard, and he had brought his own external webcam too. But Academy IT had excellent facilities to be able to ensure that there was no technical reason for Rob not to pass the exam. They want people to have the best experience in taking exams, and were able to provide an opportunity to take the MCM exam in an excellent environment.

Hopefully Rob passed, and will soon officially be a Microsoft Certified Master in SQL Server. Big thanks also to Academy IT for playing their part in the process.