A handful of quick news-ish takes:
Amazon has released the beta of its EC2 management console. This brings point-and-click friendliness to Amazon’s cloud infrastructure service. A quick glance through the interface makes it clear that effort was made to make it easy to use, beginning with big colorful buttons. My expectation is that a lot of the users who might otherwise have gone to RightScale et.al. to get the easy-to-use GUI will now just stick with Amazon’s own console. Most of those users would have just been using that free service, but there’s probably a percentage that would otherwise have been upsold who will stick with what Amazon has.
Verizon is courting CDN customers with the “Partner Port Program”. It sounds like this is a “buy transit from us over a direct peer” service — essentially becoming explicit about settlement-based content peering with content owners and CDNs. I imagine Verizon is seeing plenty of content dumped onto its network by low-cost transit providers like Level 3 and Cogent; by publicly offering lower prices and encouraging content providers to seek paid peering with it, it can grab some revenue and improve performance for its broadband users.
Scott Cleland blogged about the “open Internet” panel at CES. To sum up, he seems to think that the conversation is now being dominated by the commercially-minded proponents. That would certainly seem to be in line with Verizon’s move, which essentially implies that they’re resigning themselves to the current peering ecosystem and are going to compete directly for traffic rather than whining that the system is unfair (always disengenuous, given ILEC and MSO complicity in creating the current circumstances of that ecosystem).
I view arrangements that are reasonable from a financial and engineering standpoint, that do not seek to discriminate based on the nature of the actual content, to be the most positive interpretation of network neutrality. And so I’ll conclude by noting that I heard an interesting briefing today from Anagran, a hardware vendor offering flow-based traffic management (i.e., it doesn’t care what you’re doing, it’s just managing congestion). It’s being positioned as an alternative or supplement to Sandvine and the like, offering a way to try to keep P2P traffic manageable without having to do deep-packet inspection (and thus explicit discrimination).