The Computer Optical Disk Archival Memory, CODAM, development is a Defense Department program to ensure the availability of an advanced optical disk peripheral to satisfy expanding, archival, high performance computer memory needs. Ultimately, to satisfy user operational requirements, a number of such peripherals will be married to an automated disk handler. The resultant equipment will form an Optical Disk Library ODL, capable of over 1014 bits of on-line storage. The characteristics of the CODAM hardware and the ODL are described. The trade-offs that lead to the choice of the CODAM specifications are presented.