Hey everyone, we have had some questions about what program means what, and what is the best way to evaluate, or provide feedback on System Center Configuration Manager v.Next  technology.  The list below attempts to position the different programs available and what they involve.  The CEP is effectively a replacement for the RDP program, which will not be run for ConfigMgr v.Next (in case you were waiting for that to be announced).

A lot of people have asked about support and feedback.  In each of the program descriptions below, we have stated what support looks like.  We would highly recommend the use of  Connect to provide feedback. We have dedicated Premier Support engineers to manage feedback submissions through the Connect Portal.  These can be submitted at any time through the Connect Portal, which is a perpetual ‘Open Beta’ program designed to collect feedback even after RTM.

With respect to the TAP program below, the TAP for Beta 1 is currently closed, however the TAP nomination process will reopen in October for Beta 2. 

Open Beta Program
How do you join? - This is an open beta, broadly available to the general public. There are no commitments that come with the download outside of the EULA.
What is the format of the program? - Simply download the install source, install it into your lab environment, and evaluate the capabilities.
What is this program designed for? - This evaluation is a no commitment, freely available download of the beta product. There are no expectations, deployment targets, or requirements aside from the EULA.
Is there a feedback loop to the product team? - Yes, submitted through the Connect portal
Is it supported? - Yes, only for Lab or non production usage.  This support for Open Beta is through Connect hosted Newsgroups. Product bugs or suggestions can be submitted through Connect.
Link for more information - Download the beta here

VHD Test Drive Program
How do you join? -Freely available Virtual Machine available for download by the general public
What is the format of the program? - This is a download simply available to the general public of a pre configured VM
What is this program designed for? - This evaluation is a pre configured HyperV based Virtual Machine of 1 site installation of ConfigMgr v.Next. It saves the setup time and provides a VM for instant use.
Is there a feedback loop to the product team? - Yes, feedback can be submitted through the Connect portal like for public beta
Is it supported? - Yes, only for Lab or non production usage.  This support for the VHD Program is through Connect hosted Newsgroups. Product bugs or suggestions can be submitted through Connect.
Link for more information - Download the VM through here

Community Evaluation Program (CEP)
How do you join? - Complete the nomination survey
What is the format of the program? - This is a bi monthly series of webcasts led by Subject Matter experts on various Configuration Manager v.Next topics.
What is this program designed for? - This evaluation program is designed as a series of experiences to learn about the next release of ConfigMgr. For customers and partners who want to efficiently manage implementation, test scenarios, discover and contribute to best practices, the CEP provides a structured approach for connecting with the product group and a community of peers. Members of the CEP community will be asked to participate through the sharing of learnings, questions and experiences.
Is there a feedback loop to the product team? - Yes, feedback can be submitted through the Connect portal like for public beta.  The Product Team will attend and collect feedback from the CEP community on a session by session basis.
Is it supported? - Yes, only for Lab or non production usage.  Support for CEP is through Connect hosted Newsgroups as well as the CEP community participants.  Product bugs or suggestions can be submitted through Connect.
Link for more information - Complete the nomination survey here, read the blog post here.

Technology Adoption Program (TAP)
How do you join? Apply through a nomination survey form, or invited to participate by the product group. Program participants are selected based on program goals and test/validation plans.
What is the format of the program? This is a highly structured program where the participating organization engages the product team to help test, and validate use case scenarios. Effectively, the TAP is designed to help test the product, and provide inbound feedback and validation directly to the product team in a production environment.
What is this program designed for? This product validation program is owned and run by the product engineering team to help test the product before a broader public beta. TAP is done very early in the development phase, usually pre Beta 1, and is designed to help make sure the product works in real world scenarios. Product team members are assigned an organization to work with (1:1, maybe 1:2) and test certain scenarios in production. The program lasts through to RTM, and there are deployment agreements as well as other deliverables such as Evidence, case studies and PR.  The TAP is not for everyone, participation is selected usually from a large list of interested organizations, and the requirements to participate are very involved.
Is there a feedback loop to the product team? Yes, heavily based on feedback with customers in the use case testing, the TAP is designed as an important feedback source to product development
Is it supported?  Yes the TAP carries specific support agreements for the TAP program members.
Link for more information -Link to Nomination Survey is here.  More information about the Microsoft TAP program can be found here.

me15Jeff Wettlaufer
Sr Technical Product Manager
System Center, Management and Security Division
System Center generic brand Grid h r Email me directly here... Follow us on Twitter Connect with us on LinkedIn Shre this on Delicious Find more about System Center on TechNet Edge