Figures just after I put out a post last week to let all of you know that the TechNet subscription from Microsoft was a good deal that that announce the next week that the program is being retired.
Well, that good news is that they have announced this early enough that you can still purchase a new subscription or renewal before August 31, 2013. As long as you have purchased either and entered the provided code into a TechNet account before September 30, 2013 you will still get all of the benefits of TechNet until your subscription ends. I was lucky enough to have my current end date on August 10, 2013, so I have already purchased my renewal and once I get the code and enter it into my account, I will still have all of my benefits until August 10, 2014.
If you are looking for alternatives to TechNet, there are a few, but none of them are as good of a deal as TechNet has been. The one that they are of course recommending the most is an MSDN subscription, but the cost of the just the Operating Systems version of that subscription is $699, compared to $349 for a new TechNet subscription ($249 for a renewal) that gets you all of the Operating Systems, Office, Dynamics, SQL Server, SharePoint and more!
If you don't need to have full licenses of products, then you can get most of the software in evaluation form from the TechNet Evaulation Center. The products offered there will all expire anywhere from 30 to 180 days after you have installed them. There is also the TechNet Virtual Labs, which I have mentioned previously which allows you to try out many of the products in a virtualized environment via your web browser for a limited timeframe to complete pre-scripted labs.
I guess nothing lasts forever, but I have gotten a lot out of my TechNet subscription over the years as it was the most reasonable in price and selection to evaluate/use Microsoft products. Maybe when my subscription ends in 2014 there will be another option available from Microsoft that doesn't cost as much as an MSDN subscription offering similar products (you have to go to MSDN Premium or Ultimate to match TechNet which cost $6,119 or $13,299).