Although the company is often vilified, Microsoft really does a whole lot of things right. Near the top of that list: The ability to cheaply, easily and legally test just about any product the company sells. Developers and IT pros can subscribe to either the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) or TechNet and gain access to real production-quality software that doesn’t have crazy timeout periods and that can be used in a lab environment for evaluation, testing and development purposes.
Want to learn Hyper-V? Subscribe to one of these services, download Windows Server 2008 R2 and get started. It’s really that easy.
VMware used to have a similar service. Called the VMware Technology Network (VMTN), this service allowed those that wanted exposure to VMware to buy into an inexpensive program in order to be able to gain real-world skills. VMware, unfortunately, ended the VMTN program a while back and has not yet restored it.
As things stand right now, those that want to test VMware in their home lab need to use 60 day timed editions of software, get certified as a VCP or steal license keys. Personally, I do the 60 day thing and it’s a pain in the neck. I don’t like having to rebuild every two months.
Everyone benefits from these kinds of programs. Further, as other vendors make inroads in the hypervisor space, VMware needs to make sure that their offerings stay relevant and that people can test the high end features that differentiate their product from the competition. That only goes so far in a production environment!
I’m posting this message in response to Mike Laverick’s desire to start a campaign in the VMware community to bring back this important learning tool. I want to do my part in the call to action.
What do you think? Do you think VMware will ever reinstate the VMTN?