Excited to try out SharePoint 2010 (news, site) but not exactly sure how to get started? Microsoft is helping with the release of a free 2010 Information Worker Demonstration Virtual Machine (Beta).

Get a Demo Going Quickly

If you are a true die-hard SharePoint developer, you may prefer to do all the heavy lifting yourself. So you would download all the required software and run each install separately configuring it all as you go. But not everyone has the time (or is crazy when an easier solution is before them). And Microsoft does want people taking SharePoint 2010 for a test drive.

So they offer Virtual Machines that you can download and get to work. But there's a lot more than SharePoint 2010 in this package. It contains the entire set of tools you would need for an information worker solution, including, Office 2010, Visual Studio 2010, Communication Server 2007, Exchange Server and Project Server.

Which means you have a full environment to demonstrate all the capabilities of SharePoint and its interaction with the other Microsoft software. How the integration works is something you will likely get asked by customers and potential customers as you demo the platform.

The Download Details

The 2010 Information Worker Demonstration Virtual Machine (a beta release), actually contains two virtual machines.

Virtual Machine "a":

  1. Windows Server 2008 SP2 Standard Edition x64, running as an Active Directory Domain Controller for the “CONTOSO.COM” domain with DNS and WINS
  2. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 SP2 Enterprise Edition with Analysis, Notification, and Reporting Services
  3. Microsoft Office Communication Server 2007 R2
  4. Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 Ultimate Edition
  5. Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 Enterprise Edition Beta 2
  6. Microsoft Office Web Applications Beta 2
  7. FAST Search for SharePoint 2010 Beta 2
  8. Microsoft Project Server 2010 Beta 2
  9. Microsoft Office 2010 Beta 2
  10. Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2

Virtual machine “b” contains:

  1. Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard Evaluation Edition x64, joined to the “CONTOSO.COM” domain
  2. Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Active directory has been pre-configured over 200 “demo” users with metadata in an organizational structure.

There are a number of considerations for performance and a number of instructions to get the VMs up and running. So make sure you read the details prior to doing anything.

Looking for Something Simpler?

So this is great, and anyone who has the required operating system and RAM will likely use it. But for those who want to do it themselves with a much similar install (which means SharePoint 2010 only), here are a few suggestions: