RALEIGH, N.C. – If you are among the growing legions who believe "cloud computing" is the next wave for high-tech, then you are in the same boat rising on the same tide as new rPath Chief Executive Officer Mike Torto.

Torto has just taken over the CEO post at the Raleigh firm that is a driver in virtualization and cloud computing. One of several reasons that he signed on for the job is the market opportunity to put companies around the globe in the world of shared IT resources and PC/server power that cloud technology enables.

He also sees virtualization – the enabling of multiple operating systems on a single piece of hardware – as a great cloud enabler.

"Virtualization is a freight train in the enterprise today because it increases server utilization by 5X or more," Torto told The Skinny. "As a result, its adoption is explosive. This means that virtualized servers are fast becoming the new deployment target for applications. This also requires a different approach to packaging, deploying and maintaining applications, which is what rPath does. So, yes, virtualization is a major macro trend in IT and it’s one that catalyzes the rPath opportunity."

And how does the cloud computing trend benefit or hurt rPath?

"There’s no question it benefits rPath. Clouds represent yet another deployment target for enterprise applications," he said. "rPath provides a way to package, deploy and manage applications that can run in any cloud environment. But we’re seeing our customers look at cloud as one of many deployment targets, which will ultimately comprise a blended combination of physical servers, virtualized servers and cloud computing environments.

"rPath’s role is to automate the deployment and management of applications that run in any of these environments – and provide a way to easily move between these environments as circumstances dictate."

So just how can rPath best take advantage of cloud opportunities?

"As enterprises adopt cloud, they need a way to deploy and manage their applications in those environments," Torto explained. "We provide capabilities for doing this. As cloud adoption grows, so does rPath. But we’re not fundamentally limited by the growth of cloud. Our role is automating application deployment and maintenance across any environment – traditional, virtual or cloud. Unlike some companies who have hitched their wagons exclusively to cloud computing, rPath has broad value that includes but is not limited to cloud.

"We’re seeing that this is more consistent with how enterprises are thinking about cloud – it’s part of the picture, but not the whole picture, at least not today."

By the way, LTW invited Torto and other rPath execs to the "cloud computing" event we are putting on this Wednesday in Durham along with the Carolina SaaS users group. Unfortunately, the rPath team is on the road this week and can’t attend.

If you can make time on your schedule, be there. The program starts at 11:30 a.m. If you want to be a "cloud" player, the presentation from Kip Turco, chief operating officer at Hosted Solutions, and the ensuing panel discussion will offer plenty of information you need to be better informed about the opportunities – and obstacles – of this next tech wave.