Case Study:

IT Assessment – Risk Assessment


A major renovation of the campus center (housing the data center) was beginning. As a part of the renovation, an elevator was being added to the building, and the elevator shaft needed to go through the university’s data center. The CIO wanted to understand the risk to the school’s computing infrastructure.

What We Did

We met with members of the IT department to understand the current data center layout and inventory. Meeting with the facilities team (including architect and construction vendor), we were able to identify areas of data center risk and make recommendations for avoiding risk. Our recommendations were scaled appropriately for the size and criticality of the university’s data center.

We also provided detailed documentation of the data center layout, including equipment placement and cable paths.

During our assessment we identified opportunities for data center expansion, improved cooling, and new cable layouts.

What We Achieved

Steps were taken to reduce dust and vibration during construction and install devices to reduce EMI during the elevator’s operation. Plans were made to migrate racks 90 degrees, allowing for hot aisle/cold aisle operation. Cabinet doors were changed to grills to improve airflow and cooling.

Follow-On Activities

Harvard Partners performed an assessment of a new cable infrastructure architecture and implementation.


Industry: Academic
Scope: University-wide exposure
Impact: A set of recommendations minimizing data center risk by protecting the current infrastructure and architecting for improved cooling.
Duration: 2 weeks

Harvard Partners Skillsets

  • Business analysis
  • Project management

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Harvard Partners brings practical solutions to strategic IT issues in a collaborative and engaging manner. We inspire excellence from IT organizations by identifying opportunities for improved performance, minimizing risk, and training and coaching staff.