For the DayZero event at TechEd Australia last week, I presented a session on SQL Server 2014. Lots of people were keen to try SQL Server 2014 but said they don't have much time, or they don't have infrastructure to let them do it.
Either way, this is another example where Azure is really useful. You can spin up an Azure VM that has SQL Server 2014 CTP1 preinstalled on Windows Server. You can even choose a template that has Windows Server 2012 R2 if you want to also get exposure to that operating system. No doubt, an image with CTP2 will become available when that preview is ready.
Creating these VMs is really easy and takes only a few minutes and is the easiest way to learn to use these products.
There are free trials available within Azure. And as I mentioned in a previous post, if you have an MSDN subscription, you really should activate the Azure benefits, especially before the end of the month while they're giving away an Aston Martin to someone that does so.
Regardless, activating the benefits gives you a bunch of credit for use with Azure. That credit goes a long way because you now aren't charged for VMs that are stopped. (Note that isn't the same as shut down).
Details on activation and of the competition are here: