Test environments

Test environmentWhat to do when you are completely dependant of other companies who maintain parts of your environments? For a couple of clients I have been in this situation and not being able to execute important tests is a pain. I was able to do parts of tests, but the aim was a end-to-end test. At first I thought about mocking the missing part, but it provide complex functionality which is almost impossible to mimic. Creating my own XML files as an answer to the requests allowed us to check some of the end-to-end functionality, but I could not recreate all the XMLs that were needed.
 
My work changed from testing functionality to creating/updating documentation. This actually provided me with extra knowledge about some parts that were already tested. So back to my testing role and update the test scripts. Three days later finally a working test environment, so execute the tests and try to make up for some lost time. That was fun while it lasted… After two hours of testing, the environment was broken again and support did not have time to look at the environment. Does anyone recognise this situation? I’m wondering how companies can get away with this and how their clients can leverage them to do their work. Just changing to another company to supply the environment is not an option, the vendor lock-in is present…
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