What’s the difference between MSDN and TechNet?

To follow on from the MSDN piece, another question I get regularly is what is the difference between MSDN and TechNet, are they the same in any way?

The software provided with an MSDN Subscription is for design, development, testing, and demonstration of applications in a non-production environment, which we have already covered off.

The software provided with TechNet Plus subscriptions is for evaluation purposes only.

Both MSDN and TechNet Plus include Managed Newsgroups, Online Concierge, and Technical Support Incidents.

  • TechNet Plus subscriptions also include eLearning and other resources for IT Professionals. 
  • MSDN Premium and TechNet Plus contain roughly the same software titles, though TechNet Plus does not include any Visual Studio or Expression products.

Table below covers the common usage scenariosIf your scenario is not on the above, let me know……..



  1. Hi, I\’m looking to rent a Virtual Dedicated test environment (2xweb + 1 xSQL server) for a 6 month project from a UK hoster. The virtual servers come as co-lo environment, but it is all virtualised.Can I use my MSDN subscription licenses for this environment? Cheers,Philip

  2. Hi PhilipI assume from below that you are simply renting HARDWARE to be used soely by you in a dedicated environment for test/dev/demo/eval only – Correct?If yes, then you may use your own MSDN subscription on this hardware, the caveat is, if the MSDN is licensed to you, only you may use it to test/dev/demo/eval etcMake sense?Emma

  3. Hi, I\’ve just checked, and the ISP will be providing virtual servers with windows licences (SPLA based) and I want to use my MSDN licenses for the applications that I install – yes, this is only a test and development.Is this scenario OK?Thx,Philip

  4. My question is : May I buy a technet subscription and use for my individual learning (self-trainig) for MS exams ? To learn, you have to practice. I have read licence agreement of MS Technet subscription and they talk about test scenario. It seems that the testing scenario doesn’t include self-trainig :

    TechNet Subscriptions software may be tested to determine the following:

    Install/Uninstall – Time and process required for full, partial or upgrade software install/uninstall processes and system integration.
    Recovery – Capacity for software to recover from crashes, hardware failures, or other catastrophic problems.
    Security – Defining software’s ability to protect against unauthorized internal or external access.
    Compatibility – Gauging software performance in existing or new hardware, software, operating system or network environments.
    Comparison – Evaluating software to determine product strengths and weaknesses as compared to previous versions or similar products.
    Usability – Assessing satisfaction among end users, observing end user utilization and understanding user interaction scenarios.
    Performance – Ensuring software will perform as expected to requirements.
    Stability – Estimating individual software’s ability to perform consistently, relative to system demands.
    Environment – Determining software settings while software is being evaluated by end users in existing infrastructure.

  5. I still don’t understand the differences between MSDN, Technet, Technet Pro, and ActionPack. I’m an IT technician working on servers, databases, desktops, etc. I need the ability to download full versions MS software that don’t expire quickly in order to train myself and prepare for MS certifications. Which subscription would be best for someone with my needs?

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