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Distributed computing systems employ replication to improve overall system robustness, scalability, and performance. A replica location service (RLS) offers a mechanism to maintain and provide information about physical locations of replicas. This paper defines a design framework for RLSs that supports a variety of deployment options. We describe the RLS implementation that is distributed with the Globus toolkit and is in production use in several grid deployments. Features of our modular implementation include the use of soft-state protocols to populate a distributed index and Bloom filter compression to reduce overheads for distribution of index information. Our performance evaluation demonstrates that the RLS implementation scales well for individual servers with millions of entries and up to 100 clients. We describe the characteristics of existing RLS deployments and discuss how RLS has been integrated with higher-level data management services.