MS Technet Labs - Initial Impressions

I worked through the MS Technet Virtual Lab Express: Introduction to ISA 2006 Beta demo last night and while the product doesn’t really interest me (I couldn’t deploy a Microsoft firewall and keep a straight face) the lab itself was interesting.

You enter an email address, download an ActiveX control and wait five minutes for the lab to prepare itself. You then connect, via something that looks like Terminal Services, to four machines. You then work through the lab notes (a PDF) to get an overview of the new product features. It was actually quite a pleasant experience, the machines felt responsive, you can click around to look at parts you want and it took almost no time to work through the lab notes. Only downside was the screen size, it was damn small so the dashboard felt tiny and cramped, which isn’t what you want when you see a product for the first time.

Due to the excellent price (free!) I’ll be looking at some of the others to get a feel for what the newer releases can do.