It's not a "real" render farm. It's my SQL Server and one of my Terminal Servers that I noticed had some spare clock cycles... :p
Anyway, as far as I know, the entire Maya application has to be loaded. The flexlm license then gets pointed back to your lock. If you're looking at doing any render farm stuff, check out NetScale -- it's being introduced at less than $300, I think.
I used RenderMax and it worked quite well. NetScale is even better. The FrameScatter option is great, because it splits your single frame render into pieces that get rendered by the farm and then re-assembled on your screen -- it's FAST. Also, you can manage your farm over the Web, which is nice.
Now, if I could just learn enough Maya to be employable in the field...