Message queues, at their heart, are ways to get little packets of information (messages) from one place to another in some sort of order. Queues are often used to communicate between processes (and in some cases between systems). They vary from the simplest POSIX message Queues to the much more powerful AMQP implementations such as RabbitMQ, Apache Apollo, or Windows Azure Service Bus. There is also the no-broker needed ØMQ, or its lightweight counterpart nanomsg, for those who like the AMQP behaviour but want something which doesn't need a broker.

The varying levels of complexity of message bus extend from simply passing messages in the order they were added from sender to receiver (like a socket might), through priority ordering, to the more complex PUBSUB, REQREP, or PIPELINE patterns. The pattern which works best for your workload will be workload dependent, and the appropriate complexity of solution will depend on your expected scalability needs and deployment methodology. Whatever your problem, and whatever the implementation language you've chosen, there are plenty of bindings out there to such a wide variety of message queue implementations that before you think about writing your own job queue, why not take a look at one of those which already exist.