Struggling to figure out the ins and outs of IaaS providers' pricing so you can once and for all tell a customer the best option they have? 451 Research may have a solution. The research firm has put together what it's calling the "Cloud Pricing Codex," a cloud pricing guidebook that outlines the pricing schemes of 53 IaaS providers.

According to 451, only 64 percent of cloud providers actually published their pricing online, so the firm took it upon itself to help clear the cloudy skies (so to speak). And if the guidebook works as advertised, organizations should be able to use it to determine the true costs of any given IaaS offering.

The research firm isn't cheering for any given IaaS provider, and considering the variables that come with an organization migrating some or all of its IT and services to the cloud, there never really is a single one-size-fits-all solution. But with the Codex, organizations can start to decipher the billing methods of each IaaS provider listed so better comparisons—and decisions—can be made.

Although written for the end user company in mind, the 451 Research guidebook could be a valuable tool for solution providers and cloud services brokers that are trying to judge the best cloud offering for customers on an individual basis.

"Cloud computing once promised simple, usage-based charging for resources, similar to other utilities such as electricity; unfortunately, the current reality is far from this ideal," said Dr. Owen Rogers, cloud economist at 451 Research and co-author of the report, in a prepared statement.

Cloud pricing is not so simple these days. Channel partners of a variety of types struggle with determining final pricing, but probably not so much as their customers are. With some help from the likes of 451 Research, maybe some of the shadows around pricing can be illuminated.