This is the first post in a series of posts — around 80 posts when all is written — that will present and define terms that are used in distributed computing, cloud-native computing, and/or container-based development. We start with the term "A/B Testing".
A/B testing is an approach to testing a hypothesis by creating a control group and introducing variant scenarios, functionality, appearance, et. al., and measuring the reactions across the scenarios against an intended reaction.
One application of A/B Testing is to test two application versions at the same time. By splitting the traffic 50/50 between two versions of an application or website, you are able to determine which version is more popular, faster, a better fit, etc. … whichever criteria you have determined are most important.
For example, a website might experiment with a different layout. While unit testing, integration testing, and user acceptance testing may be successful, determining if the layout is more popular or results in more leads/orders/profits/etc. is done by A/B testing with the previous layout. In this scenario, it is common to randomly split web traffic between the two layouts.
In a microservices context, A/B testing directs traffic randomly between the two versions, and logs, traces, and monitoring are used to define the results.
If you are using Red Hat OpenShift, one tactic for A/B Testing is to spin up an equal number of pods for the two versions of your application and then establish one route that uses a round robin load balancer to direct traffic to the pods.
Using Istio to implement A/B Testing gives you more control over the traffic. This is the suggested method of A/B Testing against OpenShift applications.
Regardless of how you implement A/B Testing, this is a useful tool for improving user experience, enlarging your audience, or improving profit.