Mule ESB vs. Apache Camel

If we have Apache Camel why to use other solutions like Apache ServiceMix and Mule?
Is there something Apache Camel can't do comparing to these products? When to use Mule/ServiceMix and when to use Camel?.


Camel is a mediation engine while Mule is a light-weight integration platform. The difference is that that Mule offers all the capabilities of an ESB including a container for deploying applications, REST and Web Services. Mule can be embedded in the same way Camel to allow application developers to embed there application code with their integration code. Both integrate tightly with Spring.

Mule does not use JBI for good reasons and now that the JBI spec has been disbanded (no working group, owned by Oracle who passed on the JBI spec originally) there is no good professional or technical reason to use JBI.


If you compare Camel and Mule, you'll see that they are built on similar concepts (enterprise integration patterns, possibility to use SEDA queues...).

A key differentiator is the number of available transports (Camel vs. Mule). Moreover, Mule can run embedded (like Camel) or as a standalone integration broker, with support for application hot deployment. On top of that, Mule's Enterprise Edition offers an advanced management console that can make a difference in production.


Mule ESB
Mule ESB is as the name suggests a full ESB including several additional features instead of just an integration framework (you can compare it to Apache ServiceMix which is an ESB based on Apache Camel). Nevertheless, Mule can be use as lightweight integration framework, too – by just not adding and using any additional features besides the EIP integration stuff. As Spring Integration, Mule only offers a XML DSL. At least, it is much easier to read than Spring Integration, in my opinion. Mule Studio offers a very good and intuitive visual designer.

Apache Camel
Apache Camel is almost identical to Mule. It offers many, many components (even more than Mule) for almost every technology you could think of. If there is no component available, you can create your own component very easily starting with a Maven archetype! If you are a Spring guy: Camel has awesome Spring integration, too.

My personal favorite is Apache Camel due to its awesome Java, Groovy and Scala DSLs, combined with many supported technologies. I would only use Mule if I need some of its unique connectors to proprietary products.

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