Overall the year has been good, but not great.  A sizable number of companies seem to be looking to defer any purchases until later in 2009, even the purchases that will show an almost immediate return on their investment.

The one thing that people making decisions seem to not understand is that hardware and some software does not care what the economy looks like, they have physical, moving parts, that will fail at a predictable time; meaning that they are running an even greater risk of severe downtime in lieu of saving some money in the short term.  Delaying the refresh of desktops and servers is a very slippery slope for companies, specifically any company that is bound by a Service Level Agreement.

Take a look at the following scenario.  A healthcare provider decides to delay the purchase of a set of new desktop computers for a quarter.  This decision is made by an IT Manager, who is focused on not placing a purchase request in front of Finance to show that they are trying to maintain costs and save the company money.  This decision, while financially prudent, has an impact on the risk management team.  Once the decision has been made to delay the refresh of the computer, the risk can be elevated.  Desktop and Server refresh cycles are typically based on the mean time between failure(mtbf) calculations provided by the manufacturer of the computer, and are typically based on the components individual mtbf numbers.  Since the mtbf cannot be adjusted, the risk of the failure of the devices keeps on schedule.  The Risk Management team at the company typically will adjust their risk profiles, which could include an increase in the insurance premium to account for the possible failure of the computer.  In some cases, the increase in the premium could be more than the cost of the desktop refresh.

Why does XenDesktop (XD) and Provisioning Server (PVS) make sense in this current economy?  Specifically, why should XD and PVS be positioned as a way to protect the data, applications, and service level agreements?  Because it just makes sense.  It makes financial sense, reducing the cost of a desktop refresh because the desktop can still be used as an endpoint, or replaced with a less expensive desktop appliance, i.e., thin client.  It makes operational sense because it contains the critical data, applications, and services back into the Data Center, where controls can be more effective and protected.  It makes operational sense because the desktop workloads can be shifted to meet both the needs of the users and the availability of the resources.

Just a few thoughts on the positioning of two great products in a competitive and challenging marketplace.