Previously, VMware's beta programs were mostly limited to folks who work in large enterprises that were members of the VMware Partner Programs, or perhaps vExperts. Everybody else was likely out of luck, as far as the ability to sign up. Until now.
On June 30 2014, VMware announced:
Now Open: VMware vSphere Beta Program
Posted on June 30, 2014 by martinyip
You can expect to download, install, and test vSphere Beta software in your environment. All testing is free-form and we encourage you to use our software in ways that interest you. This will provide us with valuable insight into how you use vSphere in real-world conditions and with real-world test cases, enabling us to better align our product with your business needs.
Sign up and join the vSphere Beta Program today at: https://communities.vmware.com/community/vmtn/vsphere-beta
So check it out in your home lab, with a bare metal ESXi hypervisor install, or maybe a nested install. Let us know how you do! Note that you'll be able to open SR#s too (VMware Service Requests), on broken stuff you find, and/or product suggestions.
Note also that the Virtual Volumes Public Beta sign-up is also now available:
With Virtual Volumes (VVols), VMware offers a new paradigm, one in which an individual virtual machine and its disks, rather than a LUN, become a unit of storage management for a storage system. Virtual volumes encapsulate virtual disks and other virtual machine files, and natively store the files on the storage system.
Sign up for the vSphere public beta and visit the Virtual Volumes dedicated page to learn more. Here are some of the early demos that have been developed by partners.
My work with an IBM colleague on VVOL over at IBM's Mainz Germany labs is now published!
IBM XIV Pumps up the VVOL
IBM XIV Storage System and VMware vSphere Virtual Volumes (VVOL). An ideal combination!