The biggest problem most people have when they decide to start learning Microsoft products is trying to figure out how to afford the licenses. A single server license can cost over $600 and if you want to play with clustering the software cost alone could go above $2000 even for a very simple setup. Thankfully Microsoft has been very good about distributing trial software for a very long time.
What makes Microsoft’s trial software and exceptional resource is that it’s not handicapped. The trial software has all of the same functionality as what you would buy, it simply has an expiration date. Depending on the software you get anywhere from 30 days for products such as Office to 180 days for servers. this means that not only can you play with all the features, but you also don’t have to be overly worried about the time. 6 months is a long time to have test servers up and running.
The other good thing with the trials is that to get more time you simply have to wipe and reload your system. The countdown clock is built into the software so you have up to 180 days from installation per installation and not in total. So you could have a server up for 180 days, do a wipe and reload and have another 180 days.
To download the trial software simply go to: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/
Then create, or sign in, with your Microsoft account and click the Evaluate Now button.