Inertial confinement fusion (ICF) research puts severe demands on the laser driver. In recent years large, multibeam Nd:glass lasers have provided a flexible experimental tool for exploring fusion target physics because of their high powers, variable pulse length and shape, wavelength flexibility using harmonic generation, and adjustable focus. Advances in solid-state laser technology indicate that (1) Nd:glass lasers can be scaled up to provide a single-pulse, multi-megajoule, high-gain laboratory microfusion facility, and (2) gas-cooled slab amplifiers with laser diode pump sources are viable candidates for an efficient, high repetition rate, megawatt driver for an ICF reactor. In both applications, requirements for energy storage and energy extraction drastically limit the choice of lasing media. Nonlinear optical effects and optical damage are additional design constraints. New laser architectures applicable to ICF drivers and possible laser materials, both crystals and glasses, are surveyed.