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The requirements for FileMaker Server 15 are at FileMaker Server 15 Technical Specifications | FileMaker
There are a number of articles out there comparing 2012 to 2008 and the advantages of 2012 over 2008 such as 10 compelling reasons to upgrade to Windows Server 2012 - TechRepublic and 3 Key Reasons to Upgrade: Server 2012 versus 2008
The reality is that many of the benefits in 2012 are for services that are not recommended to be run on the same server as the FileMaker Service. Basically, FileMaker Inc. recommends the server machine have no other non-needed FileMaker services running for efficiency (e.g., FMS, IIS, Java, PHP, etc.). FileMaker wants it's service to not be shared with other services that may harm FileMaker's performance.
My personal experience has been that I did not see a performance increase when moving from Windows 2008 Server to 2012. But there are a lot of performance tuning tools. For virtual servers, latency, bandwidth, jitter, etc., in the network have been more important than the OS version from what I've seen.
If I was given the choice, I would choose 2012 for two reasons: 1) 2008 is going to deprecated from FileMaker Server in the next release or two, 2) more modern security in 2012. Then again, you could just wait to upgrade to 2012 when the future of FMS requires 2012 or greater.
Thank you. All those reasons make sense to me. I'm sure they can set it up with only basic services - I can ask for any level of service pack. I'll find an install guide somewhere, I'm sure.