Vercel Storage

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On May the first, Vercel announced a new product: storage on Vercel. Once again the web community is divided into two big camps.

The first one loves this new product and can't wait to use it and ship their products with it. The second one has a lot of criticism to share.

In this post, I'll share the thoughts of both camps, but first, let's have a look what they announced.

Vercel serverless storage solutions

Vercel storage is a suite of serverless storage solutions. The first one is Vercel KV, a durable Redis database. The second is Vercel Postgres. Vercel partnered with Neon here to introduce a serverless Postgres database.

And the third one is Vercel blob, which is file storage on the edge. So a direct replacement for services like S3, which developers have used heavily for use cases where you wanted to upload any kind of unstructured data.

What makes the release of this new product of storage on Vercel so interesting is that all of these three storage solutions run serverless. So you don't need an actual backend and an API layer to communicate to your database.

With the new app directory in Next.js, which makes use of React Server Components, things get even crazier. By leveraging React Server Components, you can even directly communicate with your database from your components.

Here's the example, Vercel shared to showcase their serverless postgres:

import { sql } from 'vercel-postgres'
import { redirect } from 'next/navigation'

async function create(formData: FormData) {
  'use server'

  const { rows } = await sql`
    INSERT INTO products (name)
    VALUES ($formData.get('name')})

export default function Page() {
  return (
    <form onSubmit={create}>
      <button type="submit">Create</button>

Let's have a look at what happens here.

  • We have a Page component, which renders a form.
  • When the form is submitted, the create function is called.
  • The create function is declared as a server function by using use server. This ensures the function is only executed on the server and can't be imported from client components.
  • Inside the create function, we use the sql tag from vercel-postgres to insert a new product into our database.
  • And then, we redirect the user to the newly created product page.

A lot of people pointed out that this might be prone to SQL injection. But it's not a regular template string getting inserted into the DB. Instead it's a tagged template call, and the sql function does very likely sanitize the input.

Why people love serverless

Many people are really excited about this. The developer experience to build a website that makes use of a database to store data where the frontend can query and mutate the data directly has never been easier, in my opinion.

With serverless being a hot topic for years now, and the discussion if this is the way to go vs. persisting on a separate backend, the release of Vercel storage is another step towards the serverless future.

Many Developers still love their backend

Next to the excited crowd are a lot of people who raise some serious concerns. The first one, and probably the biggest one, is that Vercel storage is just a wrapper around other services where you pay a lot to have a better DX.

Ottomated Opens in new tab made a comparison table Opens in new tab around the costs of Vercel storage vs. using other services. Also it's the number one topic, people talk about on Hacker News Opens in new tab.

Next to that, a lot of people are concerned about having to pay very high bills suddenly due to unexpected traffic spikes.

Lee Robinson did a great job of clarifying these two big critical points in this tweet Opens in new tab. He talks about how Vercel can be more transparent about the usage controls and the pricing.

The key takeway is that it's hard to find a good balance between a hobby project not wanting to pay a sudden huge bill vs. a business not wanting there website goes offline because they've exceeded its limits.

Another negative point I often hear is that Vercel is driving us away from open source and getting more into vendor lock-in. Guillermo Rauch, the CEO of Vercel, argues against it Opens in new tab, by saying that "everything about the platform remains composable".

He points out that "serverless databases are cool, but most of the world's backend and data already exists and are not moving anytime soon."

I find it really interesting to follow these developments around serverless and I'm curious to see how this will evolve in the future. I will definitely try out Vercel storage soon, but also keep an eye on the critical points.


I hope you enjoyed this post and learned something new. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter Opens in new tab or via Email Opens in new tab.

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I wish you a wonderful day! Marco