Ramblings from another nerd on the grid
Using the power of virtual machines, you can now quickly evaluate Microsoft and partner solutions through a series of pre-configured Virtual Hard Disks (VHD). You can download the VHDs and evaluate them for free in your own environment without the need for dedicated servers or complex installations. Start now by selecting a lab from the VHD catalog below.
Windows Server 2003 R2Windows Server 2003 R2 helps to simplify branch server management, can improve identity and access management, helps to reduce storage management costs, provides a rich Web platform, and offers cost-effective server virtualization. In this VHD, you'll have the opportunity to road-test new and improved features and functionality of Windows Server 2003, including management and usability enhancements to Active Directory.
Exchange Server 2007Learn how to take advantage of key features of Exchange Server 2007. This VHD provides an exploration of Active Directory and the new features in Exchange Server 2007, new features in Outlook Web Access 2007, enforcing compliance and retention policies in Exchange Server 2007, and more.
SQL Server 2005SQL Server 2005 is data management and analysis software that helps deliver increased scalability, availability, and security to enterprise data and analytical applications while helping to make them easier to create, deploy, and manage. In this VHD, you will get to experience many of the new features in SQL Server 2005.
For a complete list of Microsoft products and technologies in a VHD, visit the TechNet VHD Center.
Do the OS VM's have timeouts for them? These sound like great tools, especially for developers. But if the OS is only good for 60 days that's no good on a 6 month dev project.
According to the FAQ at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/try/vhd/faq.mspx, it's 30 days. I seriously doubt that. Can you imagine re-creating the VHD's every 30 days or resetting the time bombs?
I'll find out for sure later this week.
Ben Armstrong over at Virtual PC Guy has been getting quite a roasting over this. Seems that even with your Technet activation code you still are limited to 30 days. Kinda a bummer. Makes it tough to get excited about when you can swing over to VMWare's site and pull down several hundred VM images that are fully configured and ready to run (most are Linux, of course) with no expiration dates.
FYI, I have confirmed that you are indeed expected to use your MSDN or TechNet keys to activate the image if you want to go beyond 30 days. The downside to that approach is that you don't learn the installation and configuration from scratch (my preferred learning method). But hey, you save time, right?