The 1990's generation of supercomputers could perform at a computational rate in excess of a Tera Operation Per Second (TOPS). for these very high performance supercomputers to be effectively used requires a new generation of peripheral storage devices. Based on present supercomputer storage capacities and transfer rates, the TOPS input/output (I/O) problem will be scoped. Methods for handling data in a realistic operational mode are examined along with strategies that could yield an acceptable solution. The elements of the solution includes hardware, data base software and special expert systems to manage the operational environment of the supercomputer complex. A NASA supercomputer complex will be used as examples of how design decisions impact the performance of the total system including the optical disk.