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Despite the challenges posed by the two years of the COVID-19 pandemic and the international crisis, the construction of the new Extremely Brilliant Source (EBS) flagship beamlines and the renovation of the existing beamlines have progressed steadily thanks to excellent coordination between the teams of the Technical Infrastructure Division (TID) and the Instrumentation Services and Development Division (ISDD). The ESRF has also been able to demonstrate the immense value of the EBS and of its entire Upgrade Programme, allowing transparent operation for users while continuing to improve the instrumentation to take full advantage of the new source. In that respect, the deployment of suitable IT tools and the continuous efforts aimed at preserving the source coherence should retain our attention.
The new VISA IT tool, as detailed in J.-F. Perrin s paper (page 158), provides access, wherever the user is in the world, to the ESRF computing resources, the datasets hosted in the ESRF storage systems and all the registered software available at the ESRF. With this, when back at their home lab, the users can easily process their datasets available in ESRF systems, without needing any ESRF support. When operating the users virtual machines, VISA shares the computing resources (CPU and GPU) among the batches, largely optimising the use of the CPU resources. VISA is therefore a powerful solution for reducing the time from experiment to publication while limiting pressure on resources.
The Data Strategy Implementation Plan (DSIP) was first presented and approved at the 75th ESRF Council meeting in June 2021. This plan details the IT hardware requirements as well as the workforce needed for the software development and the maintenance of the IT infrastructure required by the challenges posed by the EBS machine for the next 10 years. In 2022, the economic context of the ESRF changed dramatically, notably through the rising level of inflation and the increase in electricity prices. In this context, it became necessary to postpone the DSIP. Although it was not initially developed for this purpose, the VISA solution, by increasing the computing resources rate of use, will help in mitigating some of the difficulties faced with the financing of the DSIP.