Microsoft's SharePoint Portal Server 2003 and Windows SharePoint Services became generally available last month. Both represent a significant change from the earlier versions of the respective products.
The position used to be that SharePoint Team Services provided a set of collaborative departmental and similar services as an extension to Microsoft Office, while SharePoint Portal Server was a separate product. The two products had a number of overlapping capabilities and weren't really designed to work together or, at least, they didn't do so as well as might have been expected. In addition, the architecture of SharePoint Portal Server was such that it didn't support load balancing and other scalability features which would be regarded as standard in any enterprise portal deployment.
As a result of this approach, neither SharePoint Team Services nor SharePoint Portal Server, whether taken separately or together, could be considered as a reasonable contender to support an Enterprise Information Portal (EIP). Some of the technology was there, but not enough.
This has all changed in the most recent releases. SharePoint Team Services has been stripped out of Microsoft Office, had its name changed to SharePoint Services, and has been embedded into Windows Server 2003, where it is a free add-on.
Secondly, what were duplicated facilities in the previous release have now been separated, or nearly so. Exceptions include such things as simple indexing and search within SharePoint Services, so that you can build a simple, small portal solution by just using SharePoint Services.
Going beyond this, SharePoint Portal Server makes direct use of the facilities in SharePoint Services. Thus it can leverage the latter's check-in, check-out and versioning, for example. The other change is that SharePoint Portal Server is now wholly based on SQL Server (though you can use MSDE if you are not a SQL Server user). This means that the product can exploit the database's load balancing capabilities, support for clustering and so on, which were not previously available and prevented large enterprise-wide deployments. Read