My Two Cents on TechEd Retirment – Repost

Repost of a previous blog post from my now-dead wordpress site so formatting may be poor…
On Monday, I received a email (see below) from Microsoft telling me about the discontinuation of TechNet, even though I knew about this hours before via Twitter. As a long time TechNet subscriber/user, I have a lot of thoughts on this. Personally, I am disappointed as I believe this is a great tool for IT Pros to keep current. I have championed TechNet as a resource for many years to students and IT Pros I have engaged. While the new resources available are nice, I don’t believe there is a single product available know that fills the needs of IT Pros at an affordable price point.
My Thoughts…
§  Ed Bott wrote a great post breaking down this news. Check it out here.
§  As an MCT, MVP, and a faculty member at a school with MSDN-AA, I have access to everything I need to build & maintain a testing environment along with keeping my skills sharp. That is not the case for many of you…
§  I run no scenarios (at this time) in lab that a 90-180 day eval will not cover. That is not the case for many of you…
§  At $1199 intial subscription/$799 renewal, MSDN is not an acceptable substitute even with Azure credit. Office 365 Developer is not comparable to the Office 365 E3 trial available through TechNet.
§  My belief is much of this decision is driven by licensing and years of “not following the licensing rules” by many subscribers. I would guess many IT Pros have not purchased a copy of software for personal use in eons.
§  TechNet gives you no credit in Azure, which I never understood. You NEED to be testing out Azure as this is the future for many things we do as IT Pros. That…is a reality though we may not like it.
§  This further solidifies it’s really about developers at Microsoft. Also, it solidifies Microsoft’s long-term vision of an “A La Carte” world of IT.
§  My hope is that Microsoft hears the feedback on this and delivers an option that meets the needs of IT Pros at an affordable cost.
Want another option besides MSDN? Check out the Microsoft Action Pack for Microsoft Partners. Most of probably qualify as a Registered Partner. I had this for a number of years as an SMB consultant and found it quite useful. While not the “All you can eat buffet” of TechNet, it gives you internal use rights that many of you are looking for. I believe the cost is $400/yr. Also, being a partner gets you access to Cloud Essentials if you qualify.
If you really feel strongly and want to send Microsoft a message, you can sign this petition. It was started by Cody Skidmore.
In the end, it’s all about choices. I tell my students all the time that you have to invest in your careers, and sometimes that is more than sweat equity. What you choose to spend on your career is a personal choice. I believe a majority of what we do as IT Pros can be accomplished through the free resources available to us. However, for those with speciality scenarios, you may have to fork over some cash to get what you need. Cost of doing business in today’s IT world.
Till Next time…Mike
Email from TechNet Subscription Team:
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 and will discontinue sales on August 31, 2013.
Additional Information:
More background on Microsoft’s decision to retire the TechNet Subscription service and the implications for current subscribers is available on the TechNet Subscriptions Retirement FAQ page.
Subscribers with active accounts may continue to access program benefits until their current subscription period concludes.We are committed to helping customers through this transition phase and will remain focused on providing IT professionals with free access to a broad set of TechNet assets that support the needs of IT professionals around the world.Improved Free Offerings for IT Professionals Include:
§  TechNet Evaluation Center: Free evaluation software with no feature limits, available for 30-180 days. Includes rich evaluation resources and TechNet Virtual Labs, which enable you to evaluate software without the need to install bits locally.
§  Microsoft Virtual Academy: Free online learning site, with over 200 expert-led technical training courses across more than 15 Microsoft technologies with more added weekly.
§  TechNet Forums: Free online forums where IT professionals can ask technical questions and receive rapid responses from members of the community.
Please note, MSDN Subscriptions provide a paid set of offerings that are also available for those who require access to evaluation software beyond what the above free offerings provide.
Thank you for your understanding as we increase focus on growing and investing in our free offerings to better meet the needs of the IT professional community.
Do not reply to this e-mail. This message was sent to you using an automated system. This e-mail alias is not monitored for replies.
– TechNet Subscription Team

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