Business processes—specifically, BPEL-based business processes—form the cornerstone of service components in the SCA. Whether it is a simple order approval or a complex manufacturing process, enterprises have always had business processes. A business process is a set of activities, related to the business, that are invoked in a specific sequence to achieve a business goal. In the business integration world, a business process is defined using some kind of markup language.
These business processes can invoke other supporting services or contain other service components such as business state machines, human tasks, business rules, or data maps. And, when deployed, these processes can either get done quickly or run over a long period of time. Sometimes, these processes can run for years.
Like most components in the J2EE world, business processes run in a container. In IBM's WebSphere platform, this specific container is called the Business Process Choreographer, which we talk about in Chapter 9, "Business Integration Clients." The container or the BPEL engine provides all the services and process lifecycle requirements.