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Large scale distributed systems like Grids are difficult to study only from theoretical models and simulators. Most Grids deployed at large scale are production platforms that are inappropriate research tools because of their limited reconfiguration, control and monitoring capabilities. In this paper, we present Grid'5000, a 5000 CPUs nation-wide infrastructure for research in Grid computing. Grid'5000 is designed to provide a scientific tool for computer scientists similar to the large-scale instruments used by physicists, astronomers and biologists. We describe the motivations, design, architecture, configuration examples of Grid'5000 and performance results for the reconfiguration subsystem.