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The increasing complexity of heterogeneous SoC and distributed systems confronts the system designer with problems how to determine reasonable design alternatives leading to well functioning systems. Ideally, a designer would try all possible system configuration and choose the best one regarding specific system requirements. Unfortunately, such an approach is not possible because the high number of design parameters in complex systems leads to a very large design-space, prohibiting an exhaustive search. Consequently, good search techniques are needed to find optimal, or at least good, design alternatives. In this paper, we present a design space exploration framework for system optimization using SymTA/S, a software tool for formal performance analysis. In contrast to many previous approaches, our approach takes the hierarchical structure of the design space of heterogeneous SoC and distributed systems into account, allowing the designer to control the exploration process. A main technique in our approach is systematic system optimization using traffic shaping.