I wasn’t using Novell Audit and didn’t think I needed to allow port 289 to the admin console. In the catalina log I could see delays at weird points. One key point was when the cookebroker would try to load or store a session.
Allowing port 289 to the admin console fixed the problem. Now I have speedy boxes.
Disclaimer: As with everything else at NetIQ Cool Solutions, this content is definitely not supported by NetIQ, so Customer Support will not be able to help you if it has any adverse effect on your environment. It just worked for at least one person, and perhaps it will be useful for you too. Be sure to test in a non-production environment.