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Cloud Computing: Why It Matters and How to Find the Leaders

Fin - Breakout - US

Chances are you're by now at least familiar with the term "cloud computing" or one of its various offshoots. But there's also an equally good chance that even if you've heard of "the cloud," you have little or no understanding of what it is.

Someone who does get it is blogger and adviser Josh Brown of The Reformed Broker and Fusion Analytics, and he dropped by "Breakout" to tell Macke and me what he likes about the sector and to discuss the stocks he's watching.

Cloud computing, he explains, isn't just about data storage or hosting, though it does involve a company contracting out its data-serving requirements to a firm with a big network. "What we're talking about is infrastructure as a service -- computing power on demand from someone else's server, instead of your own hardware," Brown says. "This is a monster trend. It's not going to abate."

For a concept that has been kicking around in academic circles for nearly 15 years, it hasn't been until the last three or four years that the cloud story has really taken hold.

Brown has narrowed down his picks into a few key categories, including one company that strives to deliver "fanatical customer service." That company is Rackspace (RAX) , which has seen its stock price more than double in the past year.

While there are some "gray clouds" in the group following recent worries about F5 Networks (FFIV), Brown remains upbeat overall on the cloud companies. Be sure to check out the accompanying video for more details.

Questions or comments? Let us know. Send us an email with your thoughts to breakoutcrew@yahoo.com.