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SharePoint 2013 - Office 365: Environment Options for Evaluation and Showcasing Features - You Choose

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Editor's note: Follow contributor Sai Chundur @mosstweeter

“I want to see and evaluate SharePoint 2013 and office 365”, it is a simple email and a phone call from your boss. If this had happened in 2003-2004 for SharePoint 2001 or 2003 it meant a call to infrastructure for a copy of trial or MSDN software and looking for the odd server to install and build a proof of concept. In the platform evolution Microsoft started building online labs and also ready-made virtual machines which partners and users downloaded and used for 180 days. Let us fast forward 10 years and we have so many options now to show the boss, and the business, SharePoint 2013 and Office 365.

SharePoint 2013


Option 1

The scenario is using spare capacity in my virtual environment and building an inhouse SharePoint 2013 using my MSDN subscription licenses and available hardware.

The following will help you

Hardware and software Requirements

Download and Install SharePoint 2013 Prerequisites on Windows Serve...

Service accounts Best Practices

Services Accounts Best Practices Explained by Vlad Catrinescu

AutoSPInstaller Codeplex

Install SharePoint 2013

Test Lab Guides from Microsoft

SharePoint Training videos

You can also build SharePoint 2013 on a single server following the steps outlined here from TechNet-Install SharePoint 2013 on a single server with SQL Server

Option 2

The scenario is, I want an environment on a single machine which is publicly available. You can download a VM for demo purposes from Pilothouse Consulting, based in the USA, a consulting and training service provider.

There is also a personal VM offered by a sharepoint Consultant, Personal VM offered by sharepoint professional- Gaurav Mahajan subject to review and availability.

Option 3

In this day and age, usually the CIO and boss want something like yesterday. You would like to see what SharePoint 2013 can offer and how it is different from your existing or previous versions. You can request and provision SharePoint 2013 with enterprise features from SharePoint Power

  • Free unlimited SharePoint Site Collections and Subsites
  • Total 1GB Storage Space (naturally)
  • Up to 10 Users to collaborate with
  • 200 Alerts
  • SharePoint 2013 Enterprise Features
  • Available to you in 20 Languages (Nice)

Option 4

The scenario is, I don’t have hardware and software. I don’t need an on premise solution but would like to create and manage and possibly test and develop solutions in SharePoint 2013. I have a small budget. For subscription based environment; your provider is CloudShare whose products I have used in the past for SharePoint 2010. Access your sandbox today, in less than 60 seconds

CloudShare Approach to Market:

  • We offer the SharePoint 2013 RTM version with the ability to easily add AD, SQL and even Exchange. Create a fully functional SharePoint environment for development and testing in minutes!
  • CloudShare is the go-to sandbox for all of your development and testing needs.

Of course you get 14 days trial but then you pay their prices

It is needless to say that option 1 is the ideal if you have hardware and resources and you want total control since it is custom built in your environment and will serve as a proof of concept and potentially a development and test environment for various solutions.

Office 365


Microsoft provides, for various plans, a trial for organisations for office 365. You can start your trial by setting up a trial, small business, - a trial is available only for small business premium which costs, after trial, £ 100.80 per user per year. The trial is available for Medium size business. E2, Best for companies with fewer than 250 users that want everything in Plan E1 plus Office as a subscription and E3, Best for companies with more than 250 users and want everything in the Midsize Business plan plus advanced enterprise services. If you need help during trial period you can access the community and support site for guidance on office 365.

It would be good to hear from you which would you choose for yourself or for your client and why?. All options are subject to change by respective owners.

You can also read about choices, options and approaches to sharepoint2013 on the community site:

Cloud - office 365- Vs. On Premise
Share evolution - Collaboration, ECM and More- Which Platform will ...

Categories: SPF 2013; Office 365; Deployment; Cloud

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