A cloud pricing guidebook aimed at simplifying the complex economic landscape in determining the true costs of cloud computing services has been launched.

Unveiling its Cloud Pricing Codex, authors 451 Research said it would provide CIOs and CFOs with a clear roadmap on how to understand the price and value of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offerings.

According to William Fellows, vice president at the research company, the objective was to help organisations tackle pricing plans that vary hugely among cloud service providers, not just in terms of virtual machines but also service bundling, billable attributes and usage metrics.

The guidebook breaks down virtual machine pricing methods into a cloud pricing taxonomy that enables cloud consumers to assess the strengths and weaknesses of each pricing model. Furthermore, it shows the classification of pricing options and bundles for a number of IaaS providers.

"In planning a digital infrastructure strategy, it is crucial that CIOs and CFOs assess all pricing methods available to them and fully understand each model’s benefits, risks and features. Using the guidebook would enable companies to create a playbook that defines how the cloud - and its range of services, providers and models - can be fully utilised to deliver best value,” Fellows said.

Their survey of 53 IaaS providers found large discrepancies in the methods and metrics used by providers in assessing bill consumption, as well as in the extent to which these methods are made public. Furthermore, only 64% of providers were found to publish their prices online.

Given this context, Fellows said the guidebook hoped to pull back the curtain of confusion surrounding IaaS pricing, by categorising all current on-demand, reserved and committed pricing methods into eight simple groups, with each group having its own features, benefits and considerations for both consumer and provider.

“Our Codex includes a breakdown that shows which providers offer which methods, so decision-makers can make simpler like-for-like comparisons without having to navigate through each provider’s differing terminology and literature,” Fellows concluded.