For years, the Microsoft TechNet subscription program provided non-commercial use licenses to Microsoft software. The TechNet subscriptions provided access for a few hundred dollars per year to Microsoft’s extensive library of software for evaluation purposes. For example, when Hyper-V was maturing, one could get access to licenses to setup labs with new features such as fail-over clusters. VMware on the other hand made ESXi “free” but much of the awesome functionality VMware provided would cost quite a bit to get access to. For years folks have wondered if VMware would provide something like TechNet subscriptions. Microsoft announced the discontinuance of TechNet subscriptions and the final annual subscription windows happened in 2013. As of 2014, most of the TechNet subscriptions concluded making it expensive for those looking to set up small non-production labs for learning purposes. Many hoped TechNet would continue, but that has not happened.
Instead, VMware is now offering a non-commercial evaluation program for $200/ year or less. (Nice fine @Emulsifide from the STH forums). The program is for VMUG Advantage subscribers and is called the VMware EVALExperience. By subscribing, one can take advantage of annual licenses for:
- VMware vCenter Server™ 5 Standalone for vSphere 5
- VMware vSphere® with Operations Management™ Enterprise Plus
- VMware vCloud Suite® Standard
- VMware vRealize™ Operations Insight™
- VMware vRealize Operations™ 6 Enterprise
- VMware vRealize Log Insight™
- VMware vRealize Operations for Horizon®
- VMware Horizon® Advanced Edition
- VMware Virtual SAN™
Pricing is very reasonable. It starts at $200 for a single user and has a volume discount for multiple users:
Overall this program is a game changer. Quite often we get questions around “is there any cheap way to test vSAN and other VMware architectures” and the answer has been “not really.” You do have to join the VMUG which is great for VMware as it is known as a leading technical social community.
Now, Microsoft the ball is in your court, when are TechNet subscriptions coming back?
For those interested head here for the VMUG Advantage sign-up and get the EVALExperience.