Ever increasing environmental information demands from customers, authorities, and governmental organizations as well as new business control functions are implemented and integrated to environmental information management systems (EIMSs). These systems are often based on traditional file techniques or, more recently, on commercial database management systems (DBMSs). With a production of huge data sets and their processing in real-time applications, the needs for environmental data management have grown significantly. Numerous examples from practice of EIMSs prove that the architecture of DBMS should be open for a permanent evolution. Current trends in database development and an associated research meet these challenges. New information and communication technologies and techniques influence today's DBMSs. They include, among other things, sensor networks, stream processing, processing uncertain and imprecise data, knowledge discovery and intelligent data analysis, as well as wireless broadcast and mobile computing. Both research and practice indicate that the traditional universal DBMS architecture hardly satisfies these trends and new solutions are needed. Rather separate specialized engines connected into networks are beneficial. The paper discusses recent advances in database technologies and attempts to highlight them with respect to requirements of EIMSs.