I've inherited a collection of desktop applications that currently have (for all intents) no automated test coverage. Generally speaking, these applications are typically deployed as a suite, installed on different machines, and communicate via a complex, undocumented, and proprietary protocol. They also communicate with vendors via socket or serial to send/receive data.
I want to introduce automated integration testing for these applications, but haven't found many tools that advertise this feature. TestComplete offers what they call "distributed testing," but after using it in a free trial I'm not real impressed with how it works. It just doesn't seem to have this use case in mind. I'm still working with SmartBear to see if there's something that can simplify what I'm trying to do.
My question: can anyone recommend a tool for testing a suite of applications across multiple machines, assuming that a test on one machine might require an action on another machine?
I realize I should test in isolation and simulate/mock the other machines, but the communications between the machines is complicated enough that it's a bit of a non-starter for me. I can revisit this if there aren't any great tools for doing this, but it no longer becomes a good integration test in my eyes. I do intend to simulate the vendors' data feeds since they are generally simple and there's no other option since we don't have their software.