We have a moderately large collection of Java components (some using some JNI). Each launches as a daemon (or Windows service) using the Tanuki package. Some publish SOAP or REST endpoints, others take messages from JMS. Some talk to each other.
Each component reads an XML file for some configuration; they aren't (yet) coded to just come up and wait for someone to tell them what to do.
We're looking for a testing framework for system-level tests. Note that these things are not webapps (war files) that deploy in containers. When they need to offer an endpoint, they embed a container via Apache CXF. So cargo.codehaus.org does not look apposite.
We don't really care about the typical TDD focus on 'Test cases in English.' Everyone involved here is a programmer comfortable with typical programming languages and file formats; we really don't want or need the additional overhead of building and maintaining things that map English phrases to test cases.
We did have an experiment with the Robot Framework, but it didn't go very well. The 'English' aspect consumed a lot of time, and we had horrible problems simply managing the deployment of the framework itself. (I should mention that we use Maven as a build tool.)
What frameworks should we be looking at to script configuration, launch, and monitoring?