Many of the services that businesses use are taken for granted. In an office, management expects electricity, water, and heat just work. If they don't, then often a crisis is declared and funds are spent to rectify the situation. I've been in businesses where any of those systems fail and usually, it's very disruptive. I think these days a computer network is often seen as the same type of utility service where we take it for granted, but if it doesn't work, it's a crisis.
Is the database seen as a service or is it more important than that? I think many software applications are different, and often seen as critical to business success, but I sometimes see both developers and management treating the database as a utility service. They just expect it to work, view it as a filing cabinet, and want to ignore it whenever possible.
I think this is one reason that developers are often searching out new platforms, either cloud of NoSQL, because they want to keep the storage aspect of data simple and not spend time or effort managing data. Or they want to experiment with something they think is easier to use. Many developers like the idea of a schema-on-read, and sometimes use that to argue against another relational database and instead choose another platform.
I think this is short-sighted, however, as the app now has the technical debt of supporting multiple schemas, and many of the databases using this format then suffer from one of two constraints. Either they store duplicate data for performance reasons, essentially de-normalizing their data storage, or they require some sort of ETL to ensure the data can be queried for analytics. Often schema-on-read isn't efficient when querying across documents/keys/nodes/etc.
There might be good news for many of us database professionals as an article talks about the boardroom starting to think about the database. To be fair, this is a sponsored article from Redgate, but it is based on a lot of research and feedback from customers that show how management is starting to treat the database as a strategic asset and not a common utility. Many executives are starting to realize that their data is full of value if it can be analyzed, and that the performance of these systems is important. We both need well-designed databases and well-written code, and we need to ensure that database development keeps up with today's application changes.
More and more of the customers I work with are finding their executives see more value in ensuring the database gets the resources to ensure it performs well, including better training for developers and better processes. It's good to see more and more companies embracing modern DevOps development in both application software and database software.