Cloud provisioning is the allocation of a cloud provider's resources to a customer.
When a cloud provider accepts a request from a customer, it must create the appropriate number of virtual machines (VMs) and allocate resources to support them. The process is conducted in several different ways: advance provisioning, dynamic provisioning and user self-provisioning. In this context, the term provisioning simply means " to provide."
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With advance provisioning, the customer contracts with the provider for services and the provider prepares the appropriate resources in advance of start of service. The customer is charged a flat fee or is billed on a monthly basis.
With dynamic provisioning, the provider allocates more resources as they are needed and removes them when they are not. The customer is billed on a pay-per-use basis. When dynamic provisioning is used to create a hybrid cloud, it is sometimes referred to as cloud bursting.
With user self-provisioning (also known as cloud self-service), the customer purchases resources from the cloud provider through a web form, creating a customer account and paying for resources with a credit card. The provider's resources are available for customer use within hours, if not minutes.