First of all, getting familiar with the WS-BPEL 2.0 standard is a very good idea. To use ODE, you will need to write processes using the BPEL language. There are several examples in our distributions that you can use to get started, but a decent understanding of the spec is assumed.
Then, you can optionally check out ODE Schema page in order to install schema for your database. Please note that schemas from distribution sometimes contain errors, because of poor quality of ORM schema generators.
ODE can be deployed in three different environments: