Microsoft is inviting early adopters to test the next version of a Solution Accelerator designed to streamline migrations to the latest of the company’s technologies.

The Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit 5.5 Beta was initially made available for download in November 2010, but the testing Build is still live on Microsoft Connect, and the software giant appears to be welcoming new testers with open arms, still.

After all, it’s the testing data along with feedback from customers that will help the Redmond company wrap up version 5.5 of the MAP Toolkit, and make it available as soon as possible.

Now at v5.5, the MAP Toolkit simplifies the work that IT professionals have to put in when it comes down to upgrade scenarios involving such products as Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, SQL Server R2, Internet Explorer 8 and 9, but also Windows Azure and SQL Azure.

“Take a minute to learn about the exciting new features available in the MAP Toolkit v5.5 Beta and get involved in our Beta program,” revealed Microsoft’s Stephen L Rose.

“IT pros like you make a tremendous difference in the quality and effectiveness of the products we release and we want you to know how much we’d like you to be involved.

“The feedback that you provide is invaluable to us and as a way of saying thank you there will be a lot of potential prizes that can be won by those who participate. It all starts with a simple download.”

Customers interested in test driving the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit 5.5 Beta ahead of finalization need to head over to Connect and grab the bits as soon as possible.

According to the software giant, the MAP 5.5 Beta review program will only run through mid-January, 2011.

“Please take a minute to download the MAP Toolkit v5.5 Beta now and find out about the new features we have to:

•Simplify migration of web applications and databases to Windows Azure and SQL Azure.

•Estimate the costs of running your web applications and databases on the Azure Platform.

•Identify and migrate databases from competing platforms like Oracle and MySQL to SQL Server.

•Identify Internet Explorer compatibility issues in your organization that prevent upgrading to Windows 7,” Rose added.

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