VMware is still running their promotion where vSphere Enterprise Plus customers may upgrade for free to vCloud Suite Standard, but the deadline is March 15th.
VMware has published details on the Upgrade Promotion, which primarily states that the promotion is for customers, who purchased Enterprise Plus by August 2012.
I recommend that any VMware customers, who are currently using VMware vSphere 5.x Enterprise Plus should strongly consider taking advantage of this promotion. They should check with their VMware Account Representative to obtain specific details. Ensure that no hidden costs exists, such as support costs after implementing vCloud Suite. From what I can tell, each customer could still choose not to implement vCloud Suite and simply continue running vSphere Enterprise, if they later determine that vCloud is not a good fit. Again, customers should first verify this with their account rep.
It seems to me that VMware is trying to move enterprises to a cloud mentality, versus a virtual infrastructure mentality. VMware vCloud Suite adds a lot of benefits and functionality to strict vSphere environments. In vCloud, customers can provide virtual infrastructure as a service, where virtual resources can be provided automatically without engaging the IT Team. vCloud provides the ability to easily deploy new networks that are protected by vShield Gateways. It provides Fast Provisioning (similar to Linked Clones in VMware View). It allows IT to treat various departments and business units as separate customers or tenants. The vCloud Suite Datasheet describes many more features of vCloud.
Just as migrating to virtual infrastructure was a strong trend in businesses for many years, I suspect that migrating to private (and perhaps, public and hybrid clouds) will be a growing trend for enterprises in the near future. VMware’s promotion is worth a look.