Hatchbox started because I wanted to make it easy to keep all your Rails apps running for cheap. I can't spend $60+/mo on Heroku just to run a small side project that uses ElasticSearch, but it would be fine on my own server. I just don't have the time to set everything up. So I decided to build something to solve that problem.
Hatchbox is way for you to deploy Rails apps to your own servers at places like Digital Ocean as easily as Heroku. We'll take care of installing Ruby, Nginx, PostgreSQL, Redis and more and even manage environment variables and all the other little details for you.
It's a flat monthly fee and you can deploy apps as you want to you clusters. That means it's great if you want to deploy Rails for your small business or side projects without paying for every little addon that Heroku charges for like ElasticSearch.
Since Hatchbox configures your own servers, you have full access to them to install whatever you want in addition to what Hatchbox supports. Scaling up your servers is as easy as going into your DigitalOcean account and resizing your server.
Now, Hatchbox isn't designed to replace Heroku or anything like that. If you want truly hands-off, you'll have to pay for Heroku or something similar. If you want something cheap and easy to use, but don't mind running your own servers, then Hatchbox will hopefully be perfect for you.
— Chris Oliver from GoRails