Since we're on a major migration process of this website, some component documents here are out of sync right now. In the meantime you may want to look at the asciidoc in the repository: https://github.com/apache/camel/blob/master/README.md https://github.com/apache/camel/blob/master/components/readme.adoc
Is Camel an ESB?
Typically vendors claim practically everything is an ESB these days, so the answer is probably yes
However our view is that an ESB is more of a container of integration components, so we view Apache ServiceMix to be a true ESB based around OSGi (and optionally JBI) to provide a standards based integration platform of components.
We view Camel as being a rule based routing & mediation engine which can be used inside a full blown ESB, a message broker or a web services smart client. Though if you want to, you could consider that Camel is a small, lightweight embeddable ESB since it can provide many of the common ESB services like smart routing, transformation, mediation, monitoring, orchestration etc.