Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes. We seem to be slowly moving toward this ideal at JTV as we grow, because scaling monolithic database architectures is a pain, and it isn't reliable. Even if you scale your database via replication or sharding, you've still got a global choke point for reliability and performance. If your database(s) get slow, if replications lag, if a server dies or whatever, there's a good chance it will take down your whole site. On the other hand, if you use services, you can lose individual features without taking down everything.
I would go so far as to say that it's probably a good idea to build a service-oriented architecture from the start. It's only a bit harder to do, it keeps your code base cleaner and more orthogonal over time, and it makes scaling much easier, should the need ever arise.
Here is a light interview (by none other than Jim Gray) on this published in ACM Queue from 2006.