For limited trial usage, why create an image that runs on VMWare, not the ESX version, it would allow more people to test the functionality of Alert Central without having to run on ESX.
My Laptop has more than double the resources required to run Alert Central, but I cannot try it because I don't have access to VMWare ESX.
And I am not running Windows 8.
Probably I've misunderstood you, but you can run AC on VMWare without ESX server. You just need to download an installation for VMWare -> there'll be .ova file inside. This file is pretty good running by VMWare Workstation (hosted, not bare metal hypervisor)