There are several co-related activities in the database area and computer architecture that make the discussion of database machines and their implications on DBMS standards timely and meaningful. First, in the database area there is a drive toward more powerful database management systems which support high-level data models and languages. The motive for this drive is the requirement to greatly improve user/programmer productivity and to protect applications from changes in the user environment. However, supporting these interfaces with software means often introduces inefficiency in database management systems because of the many levels of complex software which are required to map the high-level data representation and languages to the low level storage representation and machine codes. Second, the need for systems which handle very large databases is increasing rapidly. Very large databases complicate the problems of retrieval, update, data recovery, transaction processing, integrity, and security. Software solutions to these problems work well for both small databases supporting many applications and large databases supporting only a few applications. However, the labor-intensive cost, time delays and reliability problems associated with software development and maintenance will soon become prohibitive as large and highly shared databases emerge. The search for hardware solutions to these problems is a necessary and viable alternative for balancing functionality and price/performance. Third, the progress made in hardware technology in the past decade is phenomenal. The cost of memories, processors, terminals and communication devices has dropped and will continue to drop at a drastic rate. It is time for a reevaluation of the traditional role of hardware and software in solving problems of today and tomorrow in database management.