Microsoft Virtual Labs
Over at our company we're evaluating various Microsoft technologies to figure out if we can leverage them when building our next generation development platform. One of our consultants, Kevin Hegg, pointed me out to the Microsoft Virtual Labs.
This is one of the most awesome things I've worked on. Using Remote Desktop (Terminal Services), Microsoft lets you log into their demo servers. So if you've want to try out BizTalk server, just print out the pdf that has the steps for the lab that your going to take. Then terminal service into the server and walk through the steps. You don't need to go through the pain of downloading, installing and configuring BizTalk. Imagine that it just takes 2 minutes to sign up and login to a prebuilt server with BizTalk compare that to 10+ hours and the hear tearing that goes into setting it up on your local network.
Developers login to https://msdn.demoservers.com/ and try out the labs on Visual Studio .NET 2003, Soup to Nuts (Windows Forms/Smart Clients), Data Access and Storage, ASP.NET, Fritz Onion's Intro to ASP.NET, Security, BizTalk
IT Professionals can login to https://microsoft.demoservers.com/ and try the walkthroughs on Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2005, Desktop Deployment, Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration Server (ISA), Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2005, Security, Microsoft Systems Management Server Manager (SMS) 2003, Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Microsoft Identity Integration Server (MIIS) 2003, Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft SQL Server 2000
Do yourself a favor and check out atleast one of the labs. You've got to see it to believe it!