By now, almost everyone knows and loves DevOps. But what will be the next trend after DevOps has gone mainstream? There's a good chance the answer will be NoOps -- and that managed services providers (MSPs) will help deliver it.

DevOps is an approach to software development and delivery that emphasizes constant collaboration between everyone involved in technology -- from developers to systems admins to QA teams and everyone in between.

The main goal of DevOps is to make software development and management more efficient. Toward that end, being "agile" -- meaning being able to scale and to react quickly to changes in a software environment, market or user needs -- is an important part of the DevOps mindset.

DevOps has existed as a concept since the late 2000s. It is now pretty common even in the enterprise world -- a sure sign that it has gone mainstream.

The World after DevOps: NoOps

So, now that DevOps is no longer new and revolutionary, what can we expect to replace DevOps? What will be the next big step forward in the way we produce and maintain software?

The answer, I think, is NoOps. This term refers to the idea that manual IT Ops processes -- in other words, maintenance and management tasks that systems admins have to perform by hand -- can be entirely excised from software delivery.

Under the NoOps model, no one has to worry about the dirty work required to keep software running. By extension, NoOps brings agile to the next level. Because manual management is removed, systems can scale and evolve without limit.

Managed Services and NoOps

The DevOps world has already produced a lot of tools, technologies and philosophies that bring us closer to achieving NoOps. Scripted infrastructure, heavy-duty orchestration engines, automated service discovery and so on do much to remove manual processes from software delivery.

Yet reducing manual maintenance to zero is probably not a realistic proposition. IT professionals are always going to have to do something by hand.

However, managed services can allow organizations to achieve NoOps today. A good MSP should effectively deliver a NoOps experience.

Some organizations are already using managed services to outsource their DevOps workflows and achieve post-DevOps bliss. As Andrey Akselrod observes, "today, developers are increasingly turning to managed services for toolsets and infrastructure requirements -- tasks traditionally managed by DevOps teams."

It seems a safe bet that using MPSs to obviate the need to do DevOps in the first place will become more common. As DevOps becomes the norm rather than the cutting edge of software delivery, organizations will seek to achieve a higher level of efficiency than the one DevOps offers. Managed services providers who can deliver even more agility and automation than an in-house DevOps team will win in the post-DevOps world.