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In telecommunication, provisioning is the process of preparing and equipping a network to allow it to provide (new) services to its users. In NS/EP telecommunications services, "provisioning" equates to "initiation" and includes altering the state of an existing priority service or capability.[1]

In a modern signal infrastructure employing information technology at all levels, there is no distinction possible between telecommunications services and "higher level" infrastructure. Accordingly provisioning configures any required systems, provides users with access to data and technology resources, and refers to all enterprise-level information resource management involved.

From a management perspective, it is typically managed by a CIO, and necessarily involves human resources and IT departments cooperating to:

  • give users access to data repositories or grant authorization to systems, networks applications and databases based on a unique user identity, and
  • appropriate for their use hardware resources, such as computers, mobile phones and pagers.

As its most central responsibility, the provisioning process monitors access rights and privileges to ensure the security of an enterprise's resources and user privacy. As a secondary responsibility, it ensures compliance and minimizes the vulnerability of systems to penetration and abuse. As a tertiary responsibility, it tries to reduce the amount of custom configuration using boot image control and other methods that radically reduce the number of different configurations involved.

"Provisioning" often appears in the context of virtualization, orchestration, utility computing, cloud computing, and open configuration concepts and projects. For instance, the OASIS Provisioning Services Technical Committee (PSTC) defines an XML-based framework for exchanging user, resource, and service provisioning information, e.g. SPML (Service Provisioning Markup Language) for "managing the provisioning and allocation of identity information and system resources within and between organizations".

Once provisioned, the process of SysOpping ensures that services are maintained to the expected standards. Provisioning thus refers only to the setup or startup part of the service operation, and SysOpping to the ongoing responsibility.


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