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With an increasing number of available resources in large-scale distributed environments, a key challenge is resource selection. Fortunately, several middleware systems provide resource selection services. However, a user is still faced with a difficult question: "What should I ask for?" Since most users end up using naïve and suboptimal resource specifications, we propose an automated way to answer this question. We present an empirical model that given a workflow application (DAG-structured) generates an appropriate resource specification, including number of resources, the range of clock rates among the resources, and network connectivity. The model employs application structure information as well as an optional utility function that trades off cost and performance. With extensive simulation experiments for different types of applications, resource conditions, and scheduling heuristics, we show that our model leads consistently to close to optimal application performance and often reduces resource usage.