Microsoft announced today that it's making a bunch of it's products available for testing using Virtual Machines, instead of trying to figure out how to configure trial apps themselves. Windows Server 2003 R2, Exchange 2007, SQL 2005, and ISA 2006 are all available for download.
I don't know why they didn't do this sooner. I suggested at PDC 2003 that Microsoft put out it's Longhorn (Vista) builds as VPC images. It may be impractical for Vista, as the time to download a 5GB compressed VHD wouldn't outweigh the benefits of Vista's staged install, but I'm glad to see Microsoft finally leveraging it's virtualization technology for the benefit of everyone else.
Now, if they'd only make ALL of their server products available in a pre-installed, licensed format (not trials) on VHD for MSDN subscribers... I'd totally go for it. Why worry about
misconfiguring the software when MS has already configured it for you? Just download it, copy the file to your virtualization environment, and away you go!
PS: Hey Microsoft, while the "easy button" thing was cute, I sure hope you cleared that phrase with MSLegal first... seeing as how that's Staples' thing. If I were them I don't think I'd be too happy about it.