TL;DR: do not download and install these products if you are not familiar with the vSphere and vCloud environments or do not wish to learn about them. They are not standard software applications for personal use and WILL eat your computer and all data stored on it.
We are pleased to extend the availability of VMware's vSphere and vCloud product families to students interested in learning more about their capabilities. The VMAP licenses for these products provide a single license key that is sufficient to install the products, familiarize oneself with them, and conduct simple tests and evaluations, but these licenses are not intended to support operational use. However, most students will not find these products to be practically useful in their day-to-day personal computing environment, and the nature of a vSphere/vCloud installation is quite different than that provided by Fusion, Workstation or Player.
These products should only be downloaded and installed by users familiar with that environment. Users wishing to learn more about vSphere and vCloud can take advantage of eLearning materials provided by VMAP, and use discount vouchers, also available from the VMAP program, to take the test necessary to achieve a VMware Certified Professional (VCP) certification.
vSphere and vCloud are built upon the VMware ESXi hypervisor. The hypervisor runs directly on a server, known as a host, and replaces any other OS and filesystem already installed. It is intended to be accessed over the network as a server, providing computation and storage for virtual machines, and thus does not provide a standard graphical user interface. A basic text-only console is accessible to perform maintenance operations, but an ESXi host is not suitable as an individual's primary computing environment. The vSphere Client can be used to manage a single ESXi host.
The host(s) running ESXi are managed by the vCenter Server, which can be used to manage a large number of hosts and provides the administrator with a powerful set of capabilities. vCenter Server itself must run within a server environment: the standard vCenter Server package must be installed on a Windows Server machine, but it is also possible to use a vCenter Server Virtual Appliance to run a Linux-based edition of vCenter within a virtual machine. vCenter Server is typically managed using the vSphere Client.
VMware's new vCloud Suite extends the capabilities of vSphere to support multi-tenant cloud environments. The core products required to do so are vCloud Director and vCloud Networking and Security. Both are provided as part of the vCloud Suite Standard license, and a single license key can be used not only for those products but also for the associated instances of vCenter Server and one or more ESXi hosts. Installation and use of vCloud products is beyond the scope of this note, and interested users should consult appropriate resources to educate themselves about system requirements, capabilities, best practices, etc.