Future database applications will require significant improvements in performance beyond the capabilities of conventional disk based systems. This paper describes a new approach to database systems architecture, which is intended to take advantage of solid-state memory in combination with data compression to provide substantial performance improvements. The compressed data representation is tailored to the data manipulation operations requirements. The architecture has been implemented and measurements of performance are compared to those obtained using other high-performance database systems. The results indicate from one to five orders of magnitude speed-up in retrieval, equivalent or slightly faster performance during insertion (and compression) of data, while achieving approximately one order of magnitude compression in data volume. The resultant architecture is thus capable of greater cost/effectiveness than conventional approaches.