As an IT pro, enhancing your home lab with new capabilities should be a continual process. Being able to simulate and get hands-on experience is crucial, and this is where the Microsoft 365 Developer Program lends you a helping hand. After joining the program, you can sign up for a free, renewable Microsoft 365 E5 instant sandbox. Keep reading to understand its purpose and how it can benefit your home lab and career.
The Microsoft 365 Developer Program is a free program that gives developers access to the tools, resources, and support they need to build great solutions for Microsoft 365. As a subscriber of the program, you can get early access to new Microsoft 365 features and technologies, build and test your solutions in a sandbox environment, and get help from Microsoft experts if needed.
The program also lets you connect with other developers in the community and share your solutions with the world. It’s open to all developers, regardless of skill level or experience.
To join the Microsoft 365 Developer Program, simply visit the dedicated website and sign up.
If you’re looking to get hands-on experience with various services included with Microsoft 365, then you should join the Microsoft 365 Developer Program. It’s free, easy to join, and has a lot of benefits.
As a member of the program, you’ll be one of the first to get your hands on new Microsoft 365 features and technologies. As an IT pro, this gives you an advantage when building your home lab to increase your experience with Microsoft’s constantly-evolving solutions.
The Microsoft 365 Developer Program includes a free Microsoft 365 E5 sandbox environment where you can build and test your applications/solutions without affecting your production environment. This gives you the freedom to experiment and build your IT pro experience levels right on your workstation. I’ll have more details on what you can do with the Microsoft 365 sandbox below
Microsoft has a great team of experts who are available to help you throughout your various development projects. You can get help about everything from troubleshooting to best practices.
The Microsoft 365 Developer Program has a vibrant community of developers who are always willing to help each other out. This is a great place to learn new things, share ideas, and get feedback on your work.
Once you’ve built your solution, you can share it with the world through the Microsoft 365 app stores inside of Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams, and SharePoint. This is a great way to get your solution to potential customers.
The Microsoft 365 E5 sandbox is a pre-provisioned developer subscription environment that you can use to gain knowledge and experience with multiple Microsoft 365 solutions. It includes a full copy of Microsoft 365 E5, including all the latest features and capabilities. The sandbox is also customizable with pre-allocated content, so you can learn, test, and gain insight into many aspects of the environment.
Let’s take a look at all the resources available to you with this configurable sandbox. Here are some high-level value-add items included:
The Microsoft 365 E5 sandbox is a cloud-based environment, so you can access it from anywhere with an Internet connection. As listed above, it supports up to 25 users, and it includes all the latest features and capabilities of Microsoft 365 E5
It is available for 90 days, and the renewal (for an additional 90 days) aspect is generally automatic. You can access the expiration date on your developer program dashboard.
When your sandbox is created, a new subscription domain name is chosen for you. It will look something like “- mytenant.onmicrosoft.com.”
At the time of creation, you are also asked to create a Sandbox Administrator account. This is a Global Administrator account in your Microsoft 365/Azure AD tenant. It will allow you to fully manage both Microsoft 365 and Azure Active Directory.
You can access all the common admin portal websites with this Sandbox Administrator account. That includes the admin portals for Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Teams, Azure AD, and many more.
The sample users (and any additional users you create up to the 25 users limit) can also access the common portals users do: That includes office.com, outlook.office.com, stream.microsoft.com, etc.
You are free to utilize use admin portal websites, (remote) PowerShell, and mobile apps to access all the features and services included with Microsoft 365. At any time, you can get a status update on your enterprise subscription or look into your subscription expiration by visiting the Microsoft 365 Developer Program dashboard.
There are rules and guidelines you must adhere to when using the Microsoft 365 E5 sandbox environment. Here are the most important ones you should be aware of:
If you have any additional interrogations about this sandbox environment, please check out Microsoft’s Terms and Conditions website.
I’d like to offer all the IT pros reading this post some ideas of how the program has helped me in terms of setting up my home lab and grow my experience around Microsoft 365 administration. Here are some examples of products I’ve implemented and accomplished in my home lab that resonate with Microsoft 365 administration duties and experience.
I was able to use the Microsoft Stream website with my sandbox to explain how the service works and how it can be utilized to gain IT Pro experience. You can read my previous article to learn more about what is Microsoft Stream.
I went through the process of implementing the Microsoft 365 E5 sandbox to set up a cloud-based sync location to bring in my Active Directory information and sync it to Azure Active Directory. Feel free to read my previous article on how to use Microsoft’s Hybrid Azure AD Connect Cloud Sync software to learn more.
I also used my home lab and Microsoft 365 E5 sandbox to explain the intricacies of OneDrive and how it can be utilized to enhance your users’ productivity. This really help me to understand how to manage OneDrive for Business as an IT Pro.
Lastly, I used my home lab to write a comprehensive article that explains how to collaborate with Microsoft 365. I covered the basics of file sharing, real-time co-authoring, and Microsoft Loop components.
Overall, The Microsoft 365 Developer Program is an excellent resource for IT Pros who want to build their knowledge and experience across the wide gamut of applications and services in Microsoft 365. The program offers a variety of benefits, including access to early features and technologies, the ability to test various Microsoft 365 applications across a variety of methods (web browser, desktop apps, mobile apps, etc.) in a sandbox environment.
If you’re an IT Pro craving more hands-on experience with Microsoft 365, I strongly encourage you to take a look at the Microsoft 365 Developer Program. It will also give you the opportunity to connect with other IT Pros or developers in the community.