Enabling Smarter, Safer, and More Resilient Data Centres

In the 21st century, more than ever before, every organisation, large or small, is putting a lot of emphasis on data. Data is growing at an exponential rate and its availability at any time has become a business critical requirement for all companies. This has created the need for specialised data storage facilities with a flawless 24/7 operational commitment, and beyond state-of-the-art data protection capabilities.

Keep Your Data Safe and Secure

With an estimated 50 billion connected devices in play by 2020, the industry is facing a staggering challenge and is growing at an unprecedented pace. Data centres and telecom hubs have become vital parts of our economy. They operate on a dedicated 24/7 basis, 365 days of the year where just one minute of downtime could have massive, even catastrophic implications. Add to that economic fluctuations, organisational growth, new applications, and cloud computing⁠—it’s a lot to manage.

Leveraging on more than 130 years of experience in building efficiency, safety and security, Johnson Controls has developed a unique package, supporting hundreds of data centres and numerous other types of critical facilities across the world. We have evolved over time, transforming our business, and we understand the challenges faced by forward thinking businesses. Whether traditional or modular construction, operations and maintenance, or any level of support in between, we are ready to help develop an optimum data centre solution—reliable, sustainable, and cost-effective—for one location or many.
It’s a solution that provides the control, flexibility, and security required to manage escalating volumes of data. We’re your security and efficiency partner through all phases of the data centre lifecycle.

Smart and Secure Data Centre Solutions

To overcome challenges such as power management, cooling, or security, organisations today increasingly look to outsource in order to manage data effectively. Over the past couple decades, this has resulted in the creation of ‘mega data centres’ being built by the IT and internet giants. As data centres evolve from traditional, on premise, small scale server room environments to vast 15 MW purpose-built virtualised colocation facilities, the challenges of maintaining a fully secure, protected, and available site are mounting. This rapid growth in data creation, movement, storage, and consumption, in combination with an absolute reliance on data centre availability, comes with some big challenges.

Johnson Controls has a unique, comprehensive portfolio of integrated solutions. We are able to equip data centres with the right products and services to protect and safeguard them against these challenges. Our solutions help to reduce and prevent data center downtime, improving the security of data and equipment, and protecting the environment. These operational demands must take place as efficiently as possible to help reduce costs and enable data centre providers to continue to evolve and grow.

Johnson Controls brings together leading brands under one roof with a comprehensive portfolio of solutions for smart, secure, and sustainable buildings. Our unrivaled spectrum of innovative products is complemented by expertise in installation, service, and systems integration. Johnson Controls is the leading company in data centre intelligence, reliability, efficiency, and security solutions and has the most comprehensive service offers. At its core, our promise is about delivering innovation that makes people’s lives and the world better.

Computer Room Air Conditioner (CRAC) Units

A CRAC HVAC unit utilises refrigerant and a compressor to cool a room. Designed primarily to cool data centres, CRAC units blow air over a cooling coil and a compressor works to keep the refrigerant in the coil cool. The CRAC unit expels the hot exhaust air using water, air, or a glycol mix.

The CRAC unit absorbs hot air, cools it down, and then blows it up through the perforations in the data centre's raised floor in order to cool the server equipment from below. After cooling the server, the air expelled as hot exhaust gas which is then pulled back into the CRAC unit for cooling.  

Benefits of CRAC HVAC Units

  • Best suited to small or low-density data centres.
  • Air distribution, humidity, and temperature of the data centre is maintained.
  • Heat from servers is absorbed and cool air then distributed to the servers to keep their operating temperatures at peak performance.
  • CRAC units work well in small data centres that don't need to scale capacity quickly.
  • Units can be added whenever demand requires an increase in cooling capacity.
  • CRAC units take up less valuable space as they are usually stand-alone units.
  • The units can operate in all outdoor temperature conditions, both cold and hot.

Computer Room Air Handler (CRAH) Units

A CRAH HVAC system blows air over cooling coils, similar to a CRAC system, but these cooling coils are filled with chilled water instead of refrigerant. The chilled water is stored in a separate chiller, so when hot air enters the CRAH unit, it transfers the heat to the cold water, and then the water is then pumped back to the chiller.

CRAH units can vary their operation to stabilise fluctuating temperatures and humidity levels in the data centre being controlled. They can also adjust fan speeds to react dynamically as the temperature changes in the controlled space. This creates more stable temperatures and fewer chances of creating condensation or thermal overruns.

Benefits of CRAH HVAC Units

  • Best suited to medium to large size data centres.
  • CRAH systems are better suited to larger data centres and server farms.
  • CRAH units adapt to reduced summer demand and can be more economical to run because water is cheaper than refrigerant.
  • These units use less energy as they use "free" air and do not require compressors to be able to achieve the requires cooling levels.
  • A CRAH can also improve a building's energy efficiencies by using water that has already been chilled out-of-hours, thereby reducing the need to use peak time energy.


CRAC and CRAH cooling units differ in their cooling mechanisms: CRAC uses refrigerants and compressors, while CRAH relies on chilled water and control valves.

CRAC units have a straightforward operation with typically one mode, making it challenging to adjust cooling based on room requirements. Although simpler in functionality, CRAC systems have more components, necessitating more maintenance and a higher risk of component failures. Regular maintenance is crucial for optimal performance. However, when properly maintained, CRAC units offer proven reliability. They are suitable for data centres with electrical loads below 200kW that demand lower 'availability needs', i.e. a lower level of reliability and resilience is required to ensure uninterrupted access to critical systems and services.

CRAH units employ a more efficient cooling cycle, providing superior heat removal capabilities while maintaining the same energy footprint as CRAC units. Although they may have higher upfront costs for centres with less than 100 kW of electrical IT loads, CRAH systems offer long-term cost-effectiveness. They are designed for data centres with electrical loads of 200kW or more with moderate-to-high availability requirements, i.e. uptime, reliability, redundancy, and fault tolerance are more critical to the operation of the facility.

Maximise your Data Centre's capability and performance with Johnson Controls. Our expertise in HVAC system design, planning, and monitoring allows cutting-edge solutions to be tailored to meet your data centre's present and future needs. From small-scale to large-scale power requirements, we deliver effective, efficient, and sustainable solutions.

Powering the Data Centres of Tomorrow

With over 130 years of expertise in building efficiency, safety, and security, Johnson Controls has created a unique package that has supported countless data centres and critical facilities worldwide. Throughout our journey, we have adapted and transformed our business to better serve forward-thinking companies like yours.

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Our Extensive and Comprehensive Solutions Portfolio for Data Centres

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Chillers that Unleash the Power of Comfort and Sustainability.

Discover the unparalleled blend of comfort and environmental consciousness with our cutting-edge range of chillers. Whether you need air-cooled, water-cooled, or absorption chillers, we have the perfect solution to meet your unique building requirements. With our extensive expertise and advanced technology, we are dedicated to providing you with an exceptional experience.

Our chillers not only ensure optimal indoor conditions but also surpass your expectations with a multitude of additional benefits. They are intelligent, connected, and designed to maximise energy savings and minimise costs. Moreover, our chillers boast a low global warming potential (GWP), making them an eco-friendly and sustainable choice. Contact us today to find out how you can experience the power of comfort and sustainability with Johnson Controls Chillers.

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