Pulsed xenon and krypton flashlamps and D.C. krypton arc lamps are universally used as pump sources for solid state lasers. This paper details the electrical, mechanical, and optical design parameters that must be understood to allow optimization of these light sources for specific solid state laser applications of interest. The spectral output characteristics, cooling requirements, and electrical behavior of arc discharge tubes are discussed. Guidelines for the proper choice of lamp seal type, envelope material and size, electrode style, power density, gas, and fill pressure are offerred. Finally, structural and operational parameters that strongly influence lamp lifetime are identified, categorized, and explained.