Microsoft this week offered a release candidate  of its Windows Server AppFabric technology for caching of web applications. A general release is planned for next month. The company also made available a beta release of BizTalk Server 2010, which supports Windows Server AppFabric.

BizTalk Server 2010 is due to be released to manufacturing, which happens shortly before the product is made generally available, in the third quarter of this year.

Using distributed caching, Windows Server AppFabric  offers speed, scalability, and high availability for web applications, Microsoft said. AppFabric also features tools to simplify development and management of composite applications built using Windows Communication Foundation and Windows Workflow Foundation.

"[AppFabric is] an add-on to Windows Server. It provides higher level application server capabilities to Windows Server," said Burley Kawasaki, director of developer platform management at Microsoft. These capabilities include in-memory caching to speed up Web applications. These caching capabilities have been codenamed "Velocity."

AppFabric extends Windows Server to manage and host .Net applications. BizTalk Server 2010, which provides enterprise service bus capabilities and supports systems integration, and AppFabric enable deployment of composite applications that can, for example, bring together information into a single dashboard.

Key improvements in BizTalk Server 2010 include integration with AppFabric and B2B capabilities. AppFabric can be downloaded from Microsoft's Website. BizTalk Server is also available.