While it is MUCH simpler to perform a recovery using SnapCenters automated recovery from a DR, it is not necessary to use SnapCenter to do so.
There are available options that support NetApp APIs to perform consistent backup operations against a database, with some minimal scripting to perform the quiesce operations on the database while a snapshot is taken from ONTAP. This would allow you to restore from a destination containing this consistent snapshot manually.
Taking into consideration the T-log files you could feasibly create up to the minute restorations of the database in a similar manner, again this would still be a manual operation from a NetApp standpoint.
That being said, SnapCenter automates the whole process and minimizes downtime natively within ONTAP for you, preventing a storage or SQL admin from having to manually mount a copy of the data for restoration.
Please let me know if this helps, and let me know if there are any questions I can help to address on it.
At the moment we are looking to upgrade from 9.3 to 9.7 as 9.3 is coming out full support. In order to upgrade we need to mgirate to snapcenter because SnapDrive and SnapManager is not supported on anything greater than 9.3
At the moment i can break the snapmirror and bring the VM at the remote site, attach the lun via snapdrive and launch SnapManager for SQL and can carry out a point in time restore.
With SnapCenter - a product replacing SnapManager it can't do this at the remote site?
I think this needs some clarification. SnapCenter is primarily designed as an online backup/recover/cloning tool. It's not designed to address disaster recovery where the primary site has been lost entirely.
There are some cases where the snapshots that were created by SnapCenter can be used as part of a DR procedure, but it's unlikely SC itself would be used for site recovery. There could be some situations where the environment was fully virtualized, but you'd want to be very careful about the design and test everything comprehensively.
Most customers that need DR build a solution independently of SC. Some snapshots and snapmirror relationships are part of the DR architecture, others are part of the day-to-day backup/recovery architecture. The best way to start is to nail down exactly what the requirements are in terms of RPO, RTO, amount of data under management, and the total number of databases that need protection.