In the world of IT, testing out configurations is a big part of implementation and deployment. You don’t want to deploy an application if it won’t work properly…especially if your environment has hundreds or even thousands of users. That’s why I have an unhealthy number of virtual machines with various versions of Windows and Windows Server. I can quickly copy these virtual machines, make changes to them and test configurations/installs of third party products. Rather than getting demo versions of Microsoft products that expire, I have a number of activated licenses I can continue using thanks to MSDNAA and DreamSpark.
These are organizations that provide students with working licensed copies of Microsoft Windows, Windows Server, SQL Server, Exchange Server, and Visual Studio. All that’s required is that you have a valid EDU email address (as a current student or an alumn).
So, if you need your own copy of Windows 2008 Server R2 that you can activate and register for testing purposes, grab your .edu email address and checkout DreamSpark: