Monday, July 20, 2009

MSDN Operating System Subscription vs. TechNET Plus

As a software tester I need to have access to a wide range of Operating Systems, web browsers, application software, etc. so I'm not caught off guard when someone comes at me with an issue. I configure virtual machines with different flavors of Windows like Vista, XP, 2003 Server, 2008 server and many of them have different configuration types so that I can easily start a session, test and then be done.

If there comes a time when I don't have access to these software applications at work or my job demands that I work from home, I found there were a few options. One I could purchase an MSDN Operating System subscription at $699 for the first year and $499 each additional year. Two I could purchase an TechNET Plus subscription at $349 for the first year and $249 each additional year.

The MSDN Operating System subscription basically gives me access to some 231 products that revolve around "Operating System, SDK, DDKs and tools". Products that I would use revolve around Windows XP, Vista, SharePoint, Home Server, Virtual PC, Storage Server (?), 7, 8 Beta (when it comes out), Internet Explorer, etc. I get fully licensed versions that can be used for testing purposes.

Then theres the TechNET Plus subscription which gives me a broader range of products including Windows 2008, 2003, Vista, XP but it also includes SQL Server, Office, and application servers like BizTalk, Groove, SharePoint server, etc. The catch with TechNET is you only get Beta and Full-version evaluation products. However these full-version evaluation products don't have time limits.

So what would be better for a software tester? I'm kind of leaning to the Operating System subscription because it would provide me with a set of core tools for testing. On the other hand it would be nice to have broad access to Microsoft software. Perhaps I should just get both? Anyone have any thoughts?

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