Did you know if you have low latency sites and the need to roll out a very user friendly web application that Google Web Toolkit code can be deployed to the Portal and leverage Portal API's such as Web Services, and provide incredible reductions in round trips required for an application? Check it out: http://code.google.com/webtoolkit/
Rolling out a Global Portal and want to know what it will work like for your users? WANem http://wanem.sourceforge.net/ is an excellent open source wan emulator that is really easy to use for emulating latency and packet loss (plus more). Also, throw VMWare into the mix, and you can put an end to end Client to Portal demo on one laptop that is very impressive in demonstrating portal performance and impacts of tweaking components.