How often have you heard the expression ‘no pain, no gain’? These four words sum up the idea that if you are to receive benefits, then you must suffer (or at least make an effort). Alternatively, you could take it to mean that if you don’t make an effort, you can’t expect benefits. An example in the domain of disaster recovery might be ‘if you skip regular data backups (no effort), you’ll fail when your hard disk crashes (no benefit)’. The problem comes when people use chop logic to infer from ‘no pain, no gain’ that ‘if pain, then gain’ is true as well.
Let’s look again at our example of ‘if you skip regular data backups, you’ll fail when your hard disk crashes’. This is a specific case of a more general formula, which is ‘if A, then B’. Logic tells us that if the statement ‘if A, then B’ is true, then so is the statement ‘if not B, then not A’. This works for our disaster recovery example. If you don’t fail (i.e. you recover) from a hard disk crash, then you were not skipping regular data backups. So far, so good. However, you cannot assume that if you make regular data backups, you will automatically recover from disk crashes (which would be ‘if B, then A’). In other words, your pain (the effort you make to do data backups) does not guarantee you a gain (recovery from a disk crash).
Your data backups alone cannot guarantee disaster recovery, because you also need to backup configuration information and possibly system images, as well as having access to another system with a hard drive that works. This is one reason for the growing popularity of cloud-based solutions with reliable, automated protection against such data disasters. In effect, they now offer gain without pain – which turns the ‘no pain, no gain’ saying on its head, but from the reverse direction.