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In this paper we review current and previous work in the field of modeling and simulation of large scale distributed systems. We propose a new taxonomy to analyze the most representative modeling instruments for such systems. Previous work has dealt with the more generic case of computing systems simulations, but we state that, based on their specific particularities, the simulators designed for such systems pose special characteristics that can only be highlighted using a specialized methodology. The proposed taxonomy considers both the design characteristics of the large scale distributed systems being simulated, and also the implementation properties of real-world simulation instruments. Based on the proposed taxonomy, we then analyze several simulations tools designed to model large scale distributed systems. We use the categories of the proposed taxonomy to emphasize the pros and cons of each of the surveyed instruments.