Database replication protocols have historically been built on top of distributed database systems, and have consequently been designed and implemented using distributed transactional mechanisms, such as atomic commitment. We present the database state machine approach, a new way to deal with database replication in a cluster of servers. This approach relies on a powerful atomic broadcast primitive to propagate transactions between database servers, and no atomic commitment is necessary. Transaction commit is based on a certification test, and abort rate is reduced by the reordering certification test. The approach is evaluated using a detailed simulation model that shows the scalability of the system and the benefits of the reordering certification test.