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I came across a video about AWS in which the instructor said the following (extracted from its transcript):

EC2 instances are virtual machines that you can provision with minimal friction to get up and running on AWS.

I'm struggling to understand this sentence.

I looked up "provision" on lexico. There are two usages on the page, but I think neither of them applies for the sentence.

I can't see the structure of the sentence. Is the "provision" in the sentence transitive or non-transitive? I would like some help to understand the structure as well as the meaning of this sentence.

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After researching for a while, I've found a conversation in this thread on WordReference.com that might give a clue:

In the IT & telecoms context, does [provision] mean something different from "provide"?

Yes. It means "to establish" or "to set up". I'm not saying there's a good reason for this new verb, but it's well established in the industry and unlikely to go away.

If you substitute "set up" for "provision" in the sentence:

EC2 instances are virtual machines that you can set up with minimal friction to get up and running on AWS.

That starts to make sense to me. My guess is that "provision" is used the same way as "set up" in the IT context. So you can derive:

  1. "set up" is transitive, hence "provision" is also transitive in this context.
  2. "virtual machines" is the object of "provision".

So the sentence can be paraphrased as:

EC2 instances are virtual machines. You can provision them with minimal friction to get up and running on AWS.

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    "Provision" is indeed a very common transitive IT verb which roughly means "providing" or "setting up" something that is resource-based, like a virtual server.
    – gotube
    Jul 21, 2022 at 4:16

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