Virtual computing is a global phenomenon. It's just a little more global in some geographies than in others.

That's one way to read the third-quarter result of Citrix Systems (Nasdaq: CTXS). Total revenue grew at an aggregate rate of 18% year-over-year to land at $472 million, powered mostly by the Xen-based lines of virtual desktop and server software. The Americas and Asia-Pacific regions stayed well ahead of 20% growth, but Europe lagged behind with just a 9% uptick. And you know, it's all a little bit backwards.

One of the most important benefits of running virtual server farms is the long-term cost savings. Yes, there are initial costs involved in converting data centers full of separate boxes full of hardware for each production-ready application into a smaller number of more densely packed virtual server hubs. Pulling sprawling workstation and desktop networks into a centralized, server-based format can be even more tricky and costly.

But in the end, it's all worth it. Ease of management, fewer points of failure, flexible scalability, and lower staffing demands all add up to significant cost savings over time in the vast majority of cases. When budgets are tight, as is the case in collapsing economies across Europe this year, virtualization experts like Citrix and VMware (NYSE: VMW) should really see higher sales rather than less of it. But I guess it's hard to plan for the future while the sky is falling.

Citrix recently expanded longstanding partnerships with both Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) and even competitor Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), and those efforts should help driving sales to new heights in the coming quarters. It also doesn't hurt to see cloud service leaders Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) and Rackspace Hosting (NYSE: RAX) go from strength to strength with their Xen-powered products, thereby inspiring confidence in the Xen platform to IT buyers everywhere.

The Europeans will come back to Citrix in due time. For now, the rest of the world will just have to be enough.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value choice. Rackspace Hosting and Vmware are Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendations. Amazon.com is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. The Fool has written calls (bull call spread) on Cisco Systems. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.