The latest stable version of Neo4j is an important milestone in terms of stability and performance.
We push boundaries on every major release, for the maintenance release we worked on feedback from customers and addressed some of the issues they have encountered.
In particular, Cypher has been extended with support for the new Bidirectional Traverser Framework, meaning query times are in some cases cut down to a third of what they used to be. Also, Andres spent time optimizing memory consumption, so you can run more and larger Cypher queries faster than ever before!
We got started on extending JVM and Java version support by eliminating compilation issues for Java 7 on both Oracle JVM and OpenJDK - a good first step. We still have some way to go, notably rigorous testing as part of our continuous integration pipeline, and community feedback - this is where you come in. We have had some confusion over this, so we have now inserted checks and warnings that state clearly: we currently only support JDK 6.
For our enterprise customers we have added a new consistency checker that both runs faster and catches more problems, to ensure your backups are always in a good state. And we straightened out some behaviours in our HA protocol around cluster formation that were confusing.
With that and various other fixes we strongly encourage you to upgrade to Neo4j 1.8.1 at your earliest convenience.