With Sandy Spinning, Amazon and Rackspace Prove Themselves

Hurricane Sandy may have taken down Wall Street, but she'll have to punch harder if she plans on doing any serious damage to Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) and Rackspace Hosting (NYSE: RAX  ) . The two leading cloud-computing providers had reported no issues or outages as of this writing.

Amazon, in particular, deserves credit for beating lowered expectations. A week ago, several AWS capabilities originating in its East Coast operations failed for no discernible reason. The company suffered similar problems over the summer, when powerful thunderstorms ravaged Washington, D.C.

But not Sandy; she gets the stiff-arm.

Continued uptime has allowed Twitter, which uses AWS for data backup, to serve as a vital news source throughout the storm. Those seeking information and updates from state and national agencies can navigate to a distinct page where Twitter aggregates tweets marked with the hashtag "#Sandy".

Many others weren't so lucky. Gossip site Gawker and tech news site Gizmodo went down in the wake of transformer explosions at Consolidated Edison's (NYSE: ED  ) Lower Manhattan power station.

Source: TrillianMedia.

The Huffington Post is also experiencing limited uptime, which can't be pleasing to parent AOL (NYSE: AOL  ) . HuffPo, at 21st on Alexa.com's rankings of the most popular U.S. websites, is about as big a traffic source as AOL.com, which ranks 18th.

Equinix (Nasdaq: EQIX  ) , which has data center facilities in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., among others, postponed its third-quarter earnings report till Nov. 1 but hasn't reported any substantial outages.

Finally, Rackspace gets credit for being boring. Sandy's spinning has gone largely ignored at its five U.S. data centers. The company's preparedness plan -- unveiled in a blog post Monday -- appears to be working exactly as expected. And that's important. A plurality of start-ups and more than a few mature Web operators use both AWS and Rackspace as a failsafe for unforeseen conditions.

Actually, that's not taking it far enough. I think the cloud's big winners will be those businesses able to carefully stitch together disparate services for crunching huge volumes of data. That's just the sort of service AWS purports to be, which is why my Foolish colleagues John Reeves and David Meier name Amazon the ninth greatest publicly traded big data company.

How much will big data play a role in the e-tailer's profit picture? To answer this question and more, one of our top equity analysts has issued a new report that explains whether Amazon is a buy now, and why. Click here to get instant access to his research.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Rackspace Hosting at the time of publication. Check out Tim's Web home, portfolio holdings, and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Google+ or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Rackspace Hosting and Amazon.com. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.


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