Windows Azure MSDN Benefits

It was announced a little while ago that MSDN Premium subscribers would receive a number of free Windows Azure hours as part of their subscription:


and these would be, as expected with MSDN, for test and dev only.

However, I saw over on Eric Nelson’s blog that this is no longer the case. Microsoft have:

“decided to lift this restriction so that you will be able to use your Azure benefits for normal (production) use, if needed”

From January 4th 2010 the introductory Azure offer gives a huge 750 compute hours per month!

As Eric points out, the above offer expires after 8 months so don’t rush to sign up if you’re not going to make use of it straight away…make sure you get your “money’s” worth 😉 After that time period, the level of free access drops down as per the below chart:


This is a great way of making Azure easily available to the 1000’s of developers with MSDN subscriptions. It will allow them to test it as a solution, show the company how it will benefit them and then easily move to a production environment with reduced admin and cost.

See Eric’s post here.

VStudio 2010 Editions & Licensing

VStudio 2010 will be here March 22, 2010 and with it come many advancements. However, this post isn’t to look at the feature differences but rather changes to the editions and licensing.

VStudio 2008 has got quite a few different versions on licensing:

  • VStudio Pro with MSDN Pro
  • VStudio Pro with MSDN Premium
  • VStudio Team Edition Test
  • VStudio Team Edition Architect
  • VStudio Team Edition Database
  • VStudio Team Edition Development
  • VStudio Team Suite

This can make it quite confusing for customers to choose the right editions for their teams…”Geoff does testing AND Architecting-which should I get?” or sometimes companies don’t have such defined roles, they just have “developers”. Getting the Suite ensures you get all the features but it’s expensive; this confusion has been known to put people off investing in 2008.


There are now just 3 editions:

  • VStudio Pro with MSDN
  • VStudio Prem with MSDN
  • VStudio Ultimate with MSDN

This straight away makes it quicker and easier for users to identify the edition best suited to particular user. This will definitely please a number of our customers 🙂

Another change is that Team Foundation Server is now included with all 3 versions of VStudio, rather than being a separate additional licence adding more confusion (and cost) to the deal.

Production Software:

VStudio comes with MSDN which, as it’s name (MicroSoft Developers Network) suggests, is aimed at Developers…giving them access to most/all of Microsoft’s software for testing and development purposes (access level depends on version)…according to Microsoft MSDN gives access to 10,9 Terabytes 🙂

However it’s a little known fact that VStudio 2008 w/MSDN also entitles you to production licences of a bunch of software. This benefit continues with a few tweaks and the 2010 editions (Pro & Ultimate only) now include:

  • Expression Studio 3
  • Office Pro Plus  2010
  • Visio Premium 2010
  • Project Pro 2010

That’s a pretty great addition 🙂 It seems that Communicator has been removed…


One of the biggest problems with VStudio 2008 was how oddly difficult it was to find easily comparable information about the different versions. Seeing which versions did what often involved trawling multiple pages/sites, clicking many a link and a general air of uncertainty…but that’s all gone with 2010 YAY! Microsoft have created a great webpage:



This is a brilliant, one stop shop to show end users (and partners) exactly what each version does, and doesn’t, do…something that will prove invaluable!

You can access the full version of the chart here:

Upgrades and renewals:

Another question I’ve been getting is around how the current 2008 versions will transition to 2010, so here’s what MS say:


So you can see that if you’ve currently got a Team Edition, you’ll get MSDN Ultimate thus giving you access to all features…bonus 😉

The chart can be found here.

Ultimate Offer:

Microsoft’s website mentions an “Ultimate Offer” around subscription renewals but, to be honest, doesn’t make it particularly clear…at least not to me 🙂


I think this means that if you’ve got VStudio with MSDN Pro you can renew it as MSDN Premium at no extra cost, but I’m going to get confirmation from MS ASAP.

Microsoft have certainly made an effort to simplify the world of Dev tools licensing which is definitely a good thing 🙂

Update on The Ultimate Offer:

I’ve uncovered some more information on the “Ultimate Offer! (in fact, some came from a customer!) that helps make it a little clearer.

It’s effectively a free “Step Up” promo so:

“Eligible MSDN Premium subscription customers (at the time of launch) will gain access to one higher stock‐keeping unit (SKU) level”

The chart below shows the transition path:


So if you purchase any of the following editions:

• Visual Studio Professional 2008 with MSDN Premium
• Visual Studio Team System 2008 Development Edition with MSDN Premium
• Visual Studio Team System 2008 Architecture Edition with MSDN Premium
• Visual Studio Team System 2008 Test Edition with MSDN Premium
• Visual Studio Team System 2008 Database Edition with MSDN Premium

on or before March 22nd 2010, you will move up a level free of charge…nice 🙂

There are a couple of questions I’ve thought of that I’m aiming to get answered and will post them up here once I do.

VStudio 2008 Edition Comparison

Visual Studio 2008 has got a few different versions and working out which one is right for you can sometimes be a bit tricky. Microsoft have made some very useful comparison charts but, as is often the case, they haven’t made them that easy to find!

The different editions are:

  • Architecture
  • Development
  • Database
  • Test
  • Team Suite (This includes all 4 version above)

A nice “at a glance” comparison can be found on the Microsoft site here.

A more in-depth version can be downloaded here.

Hat tip to Softie Rob Caron

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