American Tower Saves on Storage Costs for Secondary Backups with Wasabi+Veeam

May 4, 2023By Carson Barcome


American Tower is a global leading independent owner, operator, and developer of multitenant communications real estate with a portfolio of approximately 223,000 communications sites located in 25 countries and a highly interconnected footprint of U.S. data center facilities.

Capacity Issues with Retention Backups Drive Search for new Solution

American Tower’s vast infrastructure requires a mix of hybrid solutions, including data centers, network-attached storage devices, virtual machines, and cloud-hosted services. Across their network, American Tower has a policy that requires backup files to be retained in offsite storage for 30 days. While backing up its virtual machines, American Tower ran into a capacity problem with its previous backup application because the application required users to store data in an expensive companion storage solution. “Storage was very expensive. In some instances adding 60 terabytes would’ve required additional licensing and hardware; we could’ve paid upwards of $300,000 to scale.” said Michael Ribaudo, Global Infrastructure Architect at American Tower. “At those rates, we needed more flexibility and had no choice but to find a different solution.” Michael Ribaudo and the IT team at American Tower needed to find a significantly more cost-effective solution to adequately store backup files from their virtual machines.

Veeam + Wasabi Provide Robust Backup and Storage Solution

Today, American Tower uses Veeam and Wasabi Hot Cloud Storage for their retention solution. Veeam backs up American Tower’s virtual machines, sending secondary copies to Wasabi for the duration of its retention period. Veeam’s 3-2-1 backup rule enables an automated and secure backup strategy for American Tower, automatically moving data from virtual machines to Wasabi and even allowing those files to be deleted after a determined time without Ribaudo and the team having to make changes manually. “Veeam has a scale-out backup system where we could back up to a local repository, keep a predetermined number of copies locally, and then scale to the cloud and keep cloud backups for a predetermined set of days. With Veeam, we could back up anywhere and push data to the cloud, and Wasabi proved to be very compatible with our Veeam environment,” said Ribaudo.

Wasabi’s Cost Savings Solve for Storage Scalability

For Ribaudo and his team, a significant benefit to their retention solution is Wasabi’s low price and predictable cost model. “Wasabi’s cost makes a huge difference in the amount of data we are able to store,” said Ribaudo. “Saving 80% on cloud object storage with Wasabi was a no-brainer for us.” For additional cost-savings, American Tower pays for storage capacity up-front at a discounted rate with Wasabi’s Reserved Capacity Storage. “Pre-purchasing storage gives us a very large bucket to use, and from a budgetary perspective, reserved capacity storage provides a known cost as opposed to a variable cost.”

The associated cost savings enable Ribaudo and the IT Team at American Tower to further scale their retention-based backup solution, adding additional virtual machine backups to its retention program. “Wasabi’s scalability is a big plus. If I run out of pre-purchased capacity and go over, I will just get billed at the regular rate. As we add more applications to our Veeam backup solution, our storage needs with Wasabi continue to grow. We’ve added a few petabytes to our Wasabi cloud because we run Veeam in all our locations; we have folders backing up with Veeam and into Wasabi from across the globe.”

Seamlessly enabling solutions for American Tower’s retention policy

As American Tower continues to add virtual machine backups to its retention solution, Wasabi continues to perform strongly. “I haven’t had any issues with Wasabi,” said Ribaudo. “Usually, there’s an issue somewhere, but we haven’t had any problems with endpoints, disconnects, or outages with Wasabi. We just keep adding to our Wasabi storage, which will only continue growing.”

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