Design considerations of a database computer are presented in this paper. The overall architecture of the computer as well as the organization of its individual components are discussed. Several key concepts which are vital to database management are incorporated in the design and organization of the components. The concepts of tracks-in-parallel read-out and logic-per-some-track processing are provided in an on-line database store for the purpose of achieving high-volume content-addressability. The use of auxiliary information about the database for access precision and control has resulted in the design of a structure memory, an array of content-addressable memory and processor pairs, for large collections of indices. The choice of technologies for the implementation of these components is considered in terms of their cost and performance. Modified moving-head disk technology is chosen in order to support the very large on-line database store. Emerging technologies such as magnetic bubbles and CCD's are chosen for the structure memory on the basis of their matching performance with the on-line database store and their capability for parallel-in-blocks-and-serial-within-block processing. Five other important components are also discussed in the paper. Their role in the database computer and relationship with the structure memory and on-line database store are delineated. The database computer is meant to be a back-end machine which interfaces with front-end general-purpose computers. To this end, the paper attempts to show that the database computer provides a very high-level instruction repertoire for interfacing with the front-end, a set of elaborate security mechanisms, and an effective cluster mechanism. These built-in capabilities tend to allow the database computer to support existing and new database applications with better throughput and higher security. Copyright © 1979 by The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.