Microsoft to Cut Test Lab Friendly TechNet Subscription

It’s a dark day for many information security pros that depend on the inexpensive $200 per year TechNet subscription service to build out their test labs. Microsoft has formally announced that all sales of the service will cease on August 31st. The much more expensive MSDN Subscription will still be available for close to $1,000. Microsoft’s reasoning for cutting the program primarily centered around the growing availability of their products through free evaluations.

I have always recommended budding and established information security pros purchase this yearly subscription so I’m sad to see it go however Microsoft’s reasoning seems pretty sound. On a positive note, now anyone can go grab a free evaluation with no money down or yearly commitment. On the other hand, 30-or-so-day evaluations could crimp the style of those performing more long-term testing. Hopefully, with a bit of VM snap-shot magic we can tweak its use some so it is not as painful.


The feast is over for developers, system admins, and other IT pros who’ve used the TechNet Subscription service to gorge on all-you-can-eat access to Microsoft technologies. The company announced it’s ending the TechNet service and directing the community toward alternatives such as the TechNet Evaluation Center, the Microsoft Virtual Academy, and TechNet Forums. But it isn’t at all clear if TechNet licenses — the ones users have already bought ‘n paid for — will live beyond TechNet’s demise.

The TechNet Subscription is still available for now in the U.S. Microsoft Store. Aug. 31 will be the last day to purchase a subscription; purchased subscriptions can be activated through Sept. 30. Subscribers will continue to enjoy all the same level of access until their subscriptions end. Microsoft explained its reasoning thusly:

As IT trends and business dynamics have evolved, so has Microsoft’s set of offerings for IT professionals who are looking to learn, evaluate and deploy Microsoft technologies and services. In recent years, we have seen a usage shift from paid to free evaluation experiences and resources. As a result, Microsoft has decided to retire the TechNet Subscriptions service.

Continued here.


What are you plans for a TechNet alternative? Let us know in the comments below. Today’s post pic is from

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