There's been some flutter about with Portals and their implementation in SaaS and Clouds lately. Overall it's good stuff and something people should be thinking and acting upon
Let's start with SaaS - I just got a good technical paper on implementing EPP in a SaaS environment. Fulcrum Logic (http://www.fulcrumlogic.com/jboss_portal.shtml) a partner from India documented how EPP can be multihomed for external usage. Fulcrum has some deep chops with a multitude of Portal technologies so covering JBoss is always appreciated. The paper gives some really good guts level detail on what needs to be done from a DB and UI level. The only criticism (if they care) is the font is bit jarring. We have a decent pecentage of customers who are using these approaches already to deliver many sites and apps to a wide range of users. Some of them are other software companies and others are verticals who's "product" is a web UI for their customers.
However, that is just one SaaS case. Portals can and should effectively bridge the SaaS model to the on-prem model many enteprises use today. There are so many elements beneath the UI to make that real. Secuirty and Federated SSO are big parts of that story but also things like app acceleration and caching have some role to play. I think that the work that needs to be done here sets the pace for cloud to cloud interaction which is inevitable. As is the case with HW and SW no company will give the whole keys to anything IT to another company.
Which brings me to Cloud - IBM just recently announced that the much lauded and MQ bashing WebSphere Portal is able to run in the Amazon cloud. They will start out with dev support and should get to full production support soon. This is good news for my old team. And while I have to mention that we have been able to do this with JBoss EPP for some time now, I think IBM's willingness to try out a somewhat disruptive model is a good thing for all of us. A similarity between IBM's customers and those of JBoss is pushing the envelope of their products. My hope is this should lead to some emerging standards (Gary/BIll if you are reading this let's talk!) and best practices for weaving the cloud and SaaS models into the existing on-prem fold which will be a huge leap for on-demand and/or grid style IT.