This announcement doesn´t seem to be “Project Zephyr” which, if the rumors are true, is VMware´s own fully fledged IaaS service.
This Public vCloud “Test-Drive” service, which VMware themselves describe as “white-label” from a vCloud service provider, seems like a way for VMware to provide cheap test-drive access, to vCloud through their existing service providers.
Where the rumored “Project Zephyr” might be seen as a competing service, Public vCloud looks to be engineered to drive long term customers to the existing ecosystem of providers.
I see this as a great move by VMware, that they actually put their name, expertise and marketing powers behind a test-drive setup, with a unified pricing scheme, that should drive customers towards existing providers. The need for this evaluative service is pretty clear to me, unlike other cloud providers, you can actually move workloads to a vCloud from your own private cloud setup using vCloud Connector.
For customers invested in VMware products to power their private clouds, this should be very interesting, and in many cases might just be what is needed for a lot of potential clients to dip their does into the vCloud Ecosystem.
For now, it looks like Public vCloud only offers Linux as operating system, something that might be a limiting factors for many customers, but I´m sure that will change down the line. Like it or not, I still think that for something like vCloud to be really interesting to most, at least small to medium, enterprises, Windows Server needs to be an option.
To get you started quickly, vCloud Service Evaluation offers a variety of pre-built content templates (at no charge) including WordPress, Joomla!, Sugar CRM, LAMP stack, Windows Server and a mix of web and application stacks and OSes. You can also Bring Your Own VM (BYOVM). That’s right, you can BYOVM and put it into your own private catalog for deployment. You can do that either by uploading it directly into vCloud Director, or you can run the vCloud Connector VMs into your account (they’re in the public catalog) and use that to transfer your VMs from vSphere or any other vCloud.
So, Windows Server VMs are indeed included, and supported right off the bat.
As a proof of concept, and a way for VMware to show that they are both dogfooding (something I´m sure Paul Maritz will enjoy as he departs from VMware), and investing in their service provider ecosystem, this seems like a good move that might accelerate deployments, or at least let those curious have a look at a working setup.
But then again, what do I know. IANAA.