In our last blog post, we discussed the many ways the Request Control Cloudlet could be used to provide conditional visitor access to your site or application. In this post, I'll break down which easy-to-configure Cloudlet app - Phased Release or Audience Segmentation - is right for you when it comes to splitting traffic over two or more origins.
The Phased Release Cloudlet is designed to be used by the DevOps or Networking groups within an organization for the purpose of canary testing and the goal being to allow for immediate deployment of a secondary (or alternate) origin for servicing protection requests. Whether you're setting up a whole new stack or releasing a new version, you'll want to begin by diverting a small percentage of production users to your new origin. These users become what's known as "the canary." Assuming things go well, more and more traffic is diverted until all of the traffic is running on the new origin and it eventually becomes the standard origin. Unlike Audience Segmentation, Phased Release also provides for automatic fail-over to the primary origin should the alternate origin fail.
The Audience Segmentation Cloudlet is designed to be used by Marketing and UX teams to assist with A/B testing or multiple user experiences. With this Cloudlet app, users can be organized into segments based on location, specific headers/cookies, a percentage match, and more. Once organized into segments, the UX can be altered by changing the URL, forwarding to a different origin, or by passing segment information to the server. What that means is that there are many options to create specific segments with granular match conditions. For example, let's say you have a need to segment 10 percent of mobile customers coming in from Canada over the next 30 days. The experience for these visitors can be altered by loading a different CSS, running some custom code, or forwarding to a completely different origin or service. This wide range of segmentation and back-end configuration options provide for an effective and versatile UX experience.
The simplest way to think about this is if you are on a DevOps team and require the ability to quickly conduct canary testing, then you are most likely going to go with Phased Release. If you are on a Marketing Operations team and want to provide specific user segments with alternate user experiences, you'll want to leverage Audience Segmentation.
If you're interested in learning more, check out the Cloudlets Community where you can also submit questions, start a discussion and engage with the Akamai team as well as other Cloudlets users. And be sure to stay tuned as we'll be sharing another blog post on the Edge Redirector Cloudlet next week.