Getting real time lab exposure to test latest SQL Server features

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I want to setup and test new SQL Server features, but this takes a lot of time.  I saw another tip Getting real time SQL Server lab exposure to test new features and wanted to know if there are new Microsoft Virtual Labs available.


Even though the links from this tip Getting real time SQL Server lab exposure to test new features have been repointed to the new virtual labs, the labs look a bit different than previous versions. In this tip we will run through the steps to connect to your own virtual lab environment and the options that are available.

Here is the link to the new TechNet Virtual Labs.  Refer to the screenshot below as a reference.

Explore Virtual Labs Main Screen

You will also see new virtual labs available for Cloud services as shown above. Just click on the relevant check boxes on the left hand side and navigate to the required virtual lab session. If you are new to virtual labs, you will be surprised by the remarkable ease by which you can gets hands on exposure to the latest new features available.

For our example, let us navigate to "Exploring SQL Server 2016 Temporal Tables". That is the second item on the third row shown in above screenshot.

Exploring SQL Server 2016 Temporal Tables Virtual Lab

Click on the system requirements to check if your browser meets the requirements. Click on the "Get Started" option. You will see this option to "Sign in".

TechNet Virtual Labs Sign In

Log in using your Microsoft account. I'm using my "Live" account. You will see this option to launch the lab.

TechNet Virtual Labs Launch Lab

Once you launch the lab, you will see this come up.

Your lab environment is being built

Depending on your internet speed, it usually takes less than a minute for the lab to load. Once the lab is loaded, it will appear like below.

The TechNet lab loaded to begin learning

There will be another pane separately displayed on the right hand side which will display the logon credentials and the time remaining for the lab session. Most of the lab sessions usually last 2 hours which gives sufficient time to test the steps in the lab manual.

Time remaining in the lab

Click on the "Content" menu in above pane, to download the "Manual". Follow the steps in the "manual" to complete the lab.

Access the TechNet Manual to begin learning

You can also extend the lab session by 15 minutes by clicking on the pop up window that will display when there is 10 minutes left in the lab session.

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About the author
MSSQLTips author Mohammed Moinudheen Mohammed Moinudheen is a SQL Server DBA with over 6 years experience managing production databases for a few Fortune 500 companies.

This author pledges the content of this article is based on professional experience and not AI generated.

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Comments For This Article

Wednesday, June 8, 2016 - 3:02:48 AM - Mohammed Back To Top (41635)

hi GeoJul,

SSMS is not available in SQL Server 2016 installation. Please download from




Tuesday, June 7, 2016 - 3:43:55 AM - GeoJul Back To Top (41623)

 Hi, Thanks for the wonderful post.

I have a doubt like, how I can access the SQL Server Management studio of SQL Server 2016.

I tried accessing SSDT in SQl Server 2014, but not of SQL Server 2016.



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