How to Acquire Visual Studio for Driver Development
As part of our work for the next release of the Windows Software Development Kit, the Windows Driver Kit (WDK), and Visual Studio, we have made some changes to how these components are acquired. In the next release we have removed the compilers from the various development kits and are now requiring customers to acquire Visual Studio to obtain them. We did this to ensure both the best possible developer experience for driver developers and to deliver a consistent servicing model for the major components needed to effectively develop drivers for the Windows platform.
Why Visual Studio for Driver Development?
Visual Studio delivers a comprehensive suite of application lifecycle management tools for teams to ensure quality results, from design to deployment. It also provides developers with an industry leading platform to build both the driver and application level software required by today’s consumers. When combined with the next release of the WDK, device developers will enjoy an integrated, highly productive environment that supports all the development tasks required of a successful project.
There are many ways to cost effectively acquire Visual Studio. In fact many companies involved in device development already have significant quantities of Visual Studio licenses either through Volume Licensing (VL) or through MSDN Subscriptions. If you have an existing MSDN Subscription, then simply maintaining the subscription will ensure that you have access to not only the current versions of Visual Studio but also any version shipped while the subscription is active.
For volume licensing customers, Visual Studio can be acquired through one of four different volume licensing options: Open, Open Value, Select & Enterprise. Each of these programs is tailored to deliver a solution that fits your business and provides you with the flexibility to respond to market demands.
For more information on volume licensing you should review the Visual Studio Volume Licensing Whitepaper, available here:
Some companies will be looking for even more tailored ways to acquire Visual Studio. Companies such as start-ups, smaller businesses and even academic institutions and their students may need a more targeted program. These programs are BizSpark, DreamSpark and the Microsoft Partner Network.
Launched in November 2008, the BizSpark program is designed to help accelerate the success of entrepreneurs and early-stage startups globally. The program provides fast and easy access to current, full-featured software development tools and platforms, and a connection to over 2,000 BizSpark Network Partners – including university incubators, hosters, government agencies, investors, consultants and financial institutions – all with a common goal of supporting entrepreneurship. BizSpark startups also have the opportunity to achieve global visibility to an audience of potential investors, customers, and partners by profiling their company and posting offers and events in the BizSpark online networking hub.
DreamSpark is a program designed to enable any student to acquire professional quality Microsoft tools for free. It is easy to join and provides electronic download of various Microsoft products, including Visual Studio, to ensure that students can create innovative software on the Microsoft platform.
Microsoft Partner Network
The Microsoft Partner Network is a community that helps Microsoft partners to reach their full potential. Today, 640,000 Microsoft partners form one of the most active, diverse networks in the world, with vast opportunities to build trusted relationships with their customers. The Microsoft Partner Network vision is to provide partners with opportunities to strengthen capabilities, the expertise to help serve customers better and access to communities that spark innovation and connection. Microsoft has always been committed to partners, investing more than US$4 billion per year to support partner sales—more than any other technology company. The Microsoft Partner Network provides access to a range of benefits and resources to support your goals at every phase of your business cycle. As you increase your investment in your partner relationship with Microsoft, the Microsoft Partner Network recognizes your commitment with higher value benefits.
With various different ways to acquire Visual Studio, you can choose one that is appropriate for your business to ensure the most cost-effective way of equipping your device development teams to not only produce drivers but also any application-level components that they need to for a successful presence in the marketplace.