Coopetitive, Multi-Stakeholder Resource, Service and Business Models for Digital Infrastructures: Vendor Customizations Over Open Networking Automation Platform (ONAP)

The thesis will model and develop strategically and financially new business opportunities for end-to-end service orchestration; proprietary extensions and upstream contribution strategies; component re-usability in alignment with the vendor’s product portfolio to achieve best market position to deliver managed distributed cloud orchestration services for Telcos, in the Open Networking Application Platform (ONAP), an open-source-based real-time, policy-driven orchestration and automation platform driven by AT&T. The Thesis will define and create multi-stakeholder workflow support for the digital network and telecommunication service ecosystem taking into account multiple operators and multiple actors, such as software vendor, virtualization lifecycle provider, OSS/BSS provider, infrastructure provider, orchestration provider and XaaS providers.


The telco market is under transition. The Network Function Virtualization white paper was published by 13 telecom companies 13 Telcos back in 2012, that has triggered the biggest transformation of the industry to “leverage standard IT virtualization technologies to consolidate many network equipment types onto industry standards high volume servers, switches and storage, which could be located in datacentres, network nodes and end user premises” [Network Vitrualization Whitepaper, ETSI NFV (2012)]. Flexibility and on-demand service composition requires full automation of virtualization resource. Telcos & vendors must assess a new competitive landscape with software innovators and public cloud platforms entering the Telco market. Telcos’ massively distributed physical infrastructure is their key asset in competing with public cloud providers moving towards the edge. Open source initiatives – driven by Telcos – play a key role in accelerating the developments, but vendors have not built their business models on open source so far. Vendors of the future may build their business on top of and around a successful open source platform (e.g., ONAP) by adding new, substantial and differentiated extra components and sell them as a service (e.g., RedHat). The challenge is to find these extras compared to ONAP in the area of multi-stakeholder operations.


The innovations are three-folds:

  • Description and creation of an open ecosystem for new business actors and roles in the virtualization service management (e.g., Virtualization Lifecycle Management as a Service, Exchange Point Service Provider, Online Applications Service Provider, Virtualization Infrastructure Provider, Software as a Service Provider, …)
  • New business models on how to operate the distributed cloud platform (a mix of open-source and proprietary extensions and managed services)
  • Technical challenges related to multi-stakeholder operations, e.g., how to scale a single-point-of-customer-contact based end-to-end service delivery platform across the infrastructure of autonomous systems, 3rd party software vendors and managed services (XaaS).

This research project must take a holistic approach and seek for a coherent solution from vendors point of view including new business models, actor incentives, open source strategies, and necessary technical extensions to enable flexibly and on-demand multi-provider end-to-end service orchestration.


Workload placement (Virtual Network Function (VNF) embedding) is an NP complete problem on its own but in the case of end-to-end services placement must work across multiple stakeholders. Autonomous stakeholders (service providers, brokers, vendors, …), however, want to protect their assets by exposing only minimal details necessary for cooperation with each other (e.g., AS paths in BGP routing for the Internet). Abstractions and information hiding, distributed operations, managed services, … all contribute to the increased complexity of managing distributed services. Customers, on the other hand, demands intent-based interfaces, where they can express what they want instead of explicitly defining how they want their services implemented (need secure communication for my traffic vs. buying VPN access at company sites). Thanks to virtualization, the execution environment, the product lifecycles, the configurations are continuously changing which needs high level adaptation (e.g., machine learning) from the orchestration systems. We research methods (e.g., domain abstraction models, competitive cooperation strategies, information and data models) and algorithms (e.g., workload placement, root-cause analysis, closed loop control, machine learning for model refinement) to solve the multi-stakeholder, multi-abstraction, multi-layer problem of orchestrating (design, fulfil and assure) end-to-end service at all scales: from enterprise (e.g., Industry 4.0) to end-user services. The expected academic outcomes are

  • PhD dissertation
  • At least one journal article with impact factor
  • Several conference publications
  • Industrial cooperation


Service lifecycle consists of service design, ervice deployment-design, instantiation, assurance and decommissioning. PhD outcome will contribute to the full automation (zero touch) of service deployment-design and a major component to closed feedback loop based service assurance by introducing standalone workload placement service component to the product architecture. Core algorithms, methods and workflows from research are channelled to this component. The first vendor to deliver such automation to service providers / enterprises will gain competitive edge and may challenge the public cloud providers. Both the Ericsson product portfolio plans and the ONAP framework envision but lack such automation component.


As an industrial doctoral student, you will reside in the EIT Digital Doctoral Training Centre in Budapest and share your time with the premises of Ericsson Hungary and the Eötvös Loránd University, Faculty of Informatics. A 3-6-month mobility to another European university or research institution will be also part of the programme.


  • Industrial partner: Ericsson Hungary Ltd.
  • Academic/research partner: Eötvös Loránd University, Faculty of Informatics
  • Number of available PhD positions: 1
  • Duration: 4 years
  • This PhD will be funded by EIT Digital, Eötvös Loránd University, Faculty of Informatics, and Ericsson Hungary Ltd.


If you are interested in applying, please send an e-mail to Zoltán Istenes ( including a CV, a motivation letter, and documents showing your academic track records.

Please apply before 25 July, 2019.

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