What a cool idea for evaluating software…

Virtual Server Poster Child This is one of those ideas that, when you hear it, makes you think, “Duh!  That’s so simple, and brilliant!  Why didn’t I think of that?”

Microsoft announced today (among other things) that we’re starting a program that lets you try software easily

“So?  I’ve been able to download evaluation software before.  What’s the big deal?”

Sure.. but how about if we were to do the installation for you, on a virtual hard disk (VHD file), that you can run on Virtual Server?  Wouldn’t that make trying out the software a whole lot more simple?

That’s what we’re doing.  We’re announcing today the “Virtual Test Drive” program.  You can download a pre-installed Server-on-a-VHD-file with a copy of Windows Server 2003 R2, Exchange Server 2007 (beta), and SQL Server 2005.  Expect other products to be available this way in future, also.

If you still need it, you can download Virtual Server 2005 R2 (for free) from here.

“Wow Kevin.. that’s cool for Microsoft.  But what about other companies?  Can they take that virtual machine and install their own software on it and send it out to their own potential customers?”

Well.. that’s the beauty of this program, too.  It’s also set up so that our partners can use these VHDs as a foundation for adding their own software, which they in turn can make available to their own potential customers. 

From the PressPass Article:

We expect more than 20 partners to begin distributing their software via the VHD Test Drive Program later this quarter, including Altiris, BEA Systems, Check Point, Citrix, CommVault, Dell, FullArmor, HP, Network Appliance, Platespin, Portlock, Quest Software, SourceCode Technology Holdings, Symantec and UGS. Over the coming year, we anticipate our partners will use this program to get more than $10 billion in software into the hands of IT professionals to evaluate.

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