A vault network for the Alpha release is currently being hosted on Digital Ocean servers (many nodes of decent specs), against which the Alpha client is running. But it is still running as a completely valid vault network, not acting as a server.
This is to give App devs a stable, well spec'd network to develop against.
There is another vault network being run--SAFE Network Test 9--which is running to do more needed development. One of the key things to be accomplished is to differentiate low-capacity vaults from fully capable ones, so that they are not counted on to do things they can't, and thus cause problems. This work is in progress, from the info I have.
There is nothing I'm saying here which MaidSafe hasn't been completely upfront about, so Daniel's post is a bit misleading, I think.
We'll see what "Safe Exchange" does, with or without the SAFE Network. I wish Daniel well, but wish he'd stop with the sour grapes.