Here are some answers:
- To connect to ThingWorx 8.1 with ThingWorx Analytics extension 8.1 you do need ThingWorx Analytics 8.1 (an earlier version will not work)
- Windows 2012 is indeed not supported with ThingWorx Analytics 8.1
- the posisble options from what you mentionned are:
1) Install ThingWorx Analytics 8.1 on a Windows 10 platform which has access to the ThingWorx server - this will still require docker as this is the only deployment possible for ThingWorx Analytics 8.1 on Windows - but this is a supported process on Windows 10.
2) run a VM on your Windows 2012 which host a Linux OS (CentOS or Ubuntu). You could then install ThingWorx Analytics 8.1 inside this VM.
3) Install on a Linux machine. Note that the Linux deployement is possible either via docker or native mode.
Hope this helps