What is offline provisioning and how is it different from pre-provisioning?
These are different tools that can help a network administrator with the configuration management of manages devices.
Pre-provisioning is the concept of provisioning a specific slot or a port of a Network Element (NE) with the configuration information even before the respective inventory is in place. This is a common element management feature that is available for most networking gear.
Offline provisioning is a sophisticated provisioning mechanism whereby network administrators can provision a network element even when it is not reachable (in some cases it will be the actual activation task for a new device to be added to the network). The Element Management System application will take care of ensuring that this task is provisioned in the NE whenever it becomes reachable or becomes available for provisioning.
EMS solutions that support offline provisioning should have the ability to model the network element accurately because the EMS should be capable of validating the provisioning information thoroughly before accepting the provisioning request. In addition it should also have a good built-in audit trail and support for raising an alarm or notifying the user whenever it faces an error during the execution of the provisioning task.
See also: Configuration and Bulk/Scheduled Provisioning and NetMan Configuration Management