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Cloud computing is becoming a mainstream aspect of information technology. More and more enterprises deploy their software systems in the cloud environment. The cloud applications are usually large scale and include a lot of distributed cloud components. Building highly reliable cloud applications is a challenging and critical research problem. To attack this challenge, we propose a component ranking framework, named FTCloud, for building fault-tolerant cloud applications. FTCloud includes two ranking algorithms. The first algorithm employs component invocation structures and invocation frequencies for making significant component ranking. The second ranking algorithm systematically fuses the system structure information as well as the application designers' wisdom to identify the significant components in a cloud application. After the component ranking phase, an algorithm is proposed to automatically determine an optimal fault-tolerance strategy for the significant cloud components. The experimental results show that by tolerating faults of a small part of the most significant components, the reliability of cloud applications can be greatly improved.