The easiest thing conceptually (as far as I am concerned) is the JavaSpaces approach. Javaspaces is built on top of JINI and conceals some of the details. I have a Javaspaces demo running on my web site - it consists of a "Space" running on a Linux machine and multiple instances of service classes running on various windows machines around my network. The basic requirement is that you must be able to create a Java class that encapsulates the data required for a "worker" service to take an instance from the "Space", work on it, and return the result to the "Space" where some other service can pick it up. The JavaSpace approach is very flexible in that machines with service programs runnning can drop off or start up without disturbing the operation of the space. The latest release of the JINI starter Kit includes a JavaSpace implementation. It is supposed to be easier to get started with than the previous release - which was a tad complex to configure. Another possibility is the Gigaspaces commercial site - it has a free "Community Edition" download that has great examples.