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Microsoft now offers PsExec [microsoft.com] from their acquistion of Sysinternals.
Utilities like Telnet and remote control programs like Symantec's PC Anywhere let you execute programs on remote systems, but they can be a pain to set up and require that you install client software on the remote systems that you wish to access. PsExec is a light-weight telnet-replacement that lets you execute processes on other systems, complete with full interactivity for console applications, without having to manually install client software.
And use ssh-keygen to make ssh keys so that it doesn't prompt for a password, e.g.:
ssh-keygen -t rsa
ssh user@server "mkdir .ssh; chmod 700 .ssh"
scp .ssh/id_rsa.pub user@server:.ssh/authorized_keys2
This a nice hack to roll your own API when none is available ;)