My TechNet subscription finally came to an end, so I asked my fellow CTP’s about their preferred TechNet replacement.
It became very clear that Microsoft Action Pack Subscription for Partners is the best-kept secret no one seems to know about. Even though it’s a bit limited, for only $475 you get RDS Licenses, Windows 8 / 2012, SQL, Exchange and much more.
TechNet Replacement – Do other options exist?
I’ve been a great fan of automation for years and I have created a pretty comprehensive collection inside my own Automation Framework based upon the free Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT).
You simply leverage Technet Evaluation Center and automated deployments via MDT. When your evaluation period expires after 60/90/120 days, you can simply redeploy or run the command slmgr –rearm to further extend the time bomb.
Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT)
The Microsoft Deployment Toolkit is free and can deploy almost anything. Some might argue that because it’s free it not good enough for Enterprises.
Wrong! MDT belongs to the SCCM Product Team and is the preferred tool for creating reference images for whatever deployment product you might use. Ask any deployment guru out there.
As you know, installing just a normal Operating System (OS) can take quite some time and involves a lot of manual steps. The older the OS version, the longer it takes.
- Downloading and locating the ISO image and correct license key
- Burning the ISO or mount it to the Virtual Machine
- Start Install and Join domain
- Installing any required roles and features
- Downloading and installing any required .NET / Visual C++
- Running Windows Update – Various times and reboots required
- All other software installation
Even with Windows Updates Services (WSUS) in your Local Area Network, applying all these updates and hotfixes takes quite some time and also waste valuable storage if not cleaned up properly.
In my blog post Automated Reference Image Creation I show you how to do this automatically so the image always contains the latest Windows Updates, reducing the deployment time and network traffic even more.
So as you can see a combination of Evaluation Licenses and MDT is the best free option for TechNet Replacement if you don’t qualify for the subscriptions mentioned at the beginning of the blog post.
On 24th of September at 14:00PM EDT I’m hosting a webinar showing all this an much more. Register for my webinar “Automated Deployment of Citrix XenDesktop 7.5 in 45 minutes” now before it gets full. Even if you can’t attend, you’ll get an email with the webinar replay.
PS: I’m going to offer a big surprise in the end, so make sure you don’t miss it!