In the old days, when you needed to deploy a new server, there was at least some legwork involved. You would have to find rack space, make sure the rack had enough power for a new server, install an image on the server, and, if the image is not exactly what you needed, customize it to your specifications. All of that had to be done before the server would even be ready to turn on and boot. Virtualization has dramatically changed server deployment, and virtual machine (VM) provisioning is one way to streamline and automate the process.
By using a server provisioning application, you can create new virtual server instances on the fly. What once might have taken hours can now happen in minutes with just a few clicks. Moreover, if you need to deploy multiple servers, you can use virtual machine provisioning to duplicate VMs and deploy them automatically.
In addition to the creation of VMs, you can also allocate power, I/O resources, CPU cycles, and memory. Depending on the provisioning software, it may support multiple operating systems (such as Linux, BSD, or Windows) and multiple virtualization tools (such as KVM, Xen, and VMware). Some provisioning software may even offer features beyond initial deployment, allowing you to continuously track and monitor all of your virtual machines from one management interface.
You can find a list of Linux server provisioning applications right here at ServerSchool.com.