Orchard 1.8 and Orchard 1.7.3 were released this evening. Orchard 1.7.3 is a bug fix release for those not ready to move to Orchard 1.8. Orchard 1.8 introduces a new document storage solution leveraging Infoset that promises to increase the performance of Orchard by reducing table joins and query execution. I went ahead and upgraded this website to Orchard 1.8 this evening and everything went very smoothly.
You can download both Orchard 1.7.3 and Orchard 1.8 using the following links:
I tend to be more conservative with client websites, but given the simplicity of my website, I went ahead and upgraded to Orchard 1.8 with no reservations. Upgrading to Orchard 1.8 is basically the same as previous upgrades, but you will want to read the release notes to make sure you assign the Site Owner to the Administrator role before performing the upgrade. Not doing so will lock you out of the Orchard Dashboard and you will have to perform a little hack to get in.
Given that the upgrade process also involves more database changes than normal to convert to InfoSet, you better make sure you backup your database. I can't believe anyone wouldn't backup their Orchard Database before performing an upgrade anyway, but this time you better really do it. There are lots of database changes going on when you perform the necessary steps in the Orchard 1.8 Upgrade Module.
Unscientifically, I disabled output caching temporarily on the website after the Orchard 1.8 upgrade to see if I would notice a performance boost, and I was extremely pleased at just how much faster Orchard 1.8 appeared compared to earlier versions. There was very little noticeable difference between having output caching on and off in Orchard 1.8. I was pleasantly surprised, especially since this website is running on a very basic VPS and using SQL CE as the database. Your experience may vary, but I think you will notice a definite performance boost in Orchard 1.8 thanks to the new document storage shift using Infoset.
If you need any help upgrading your Orchard Website to Orchard 1.8, please contact me.