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Server provisioning is the process of equipping a server with everything it will need to operate in the network as needed. The elements that will be required by any given server will depend entirely on the job it will be doing, so the job of provisioning will include gathering information about its intended uses. Provisioning can include installing the operating system, installing other required software, adjusting control panels, or even replicating the set-up of another server.

Servers can be categorized according to their uses, and the provisioning will differ greatly between them. For example, there are application servers, proxy servers, mail servers, virtual servers, blade servers, file servers, and policy servers, to name just a few. Each of them will have very different provisioning requirements, and, in fact, the choice of the server itself will also be governed by the intended use.