When it comes to processing power, the automated library systems now available outstrip the needs of any existing library. For example, a recent benchmark by one North American vendor of automated library systems (CARL) confirmed that a Tandem NonStop Himalaya 1(2000 system could process 11,900 transactions per minute with response times averaging less than one second on a database of 12.7 million bibliographic records and 3.5 million patrons. It was projected that the system could accommodate a billion patron access catalog and circulation transactions a year. Other vendors claim that they can match this performance. The challenge facing large libraries then, is purchasing the machine which optimizes price/performance based on its projected needs, rather than the biggest machine available.