I have spent the majority of my technology years in and around financial services dealing with issues of data security, retention, archiving and reporting. Though the finance sector is considered heavily regulated, so are other industries, such as health care and government.
Commercial database solutions have had a leg up on MySQL for some time in this area – however – MySQL is now joining the fray with tools to help anyone responsible for dealing with the sticky issues of data management.
The archive engine is as relevant for smaller web solutions as it is for the enterprise as it simplifies the DBA work involved in offloading data into an environment that limits interaction with data without sacrificing reporting capabilities.
Probably the single biggest difference from the existing compression features in MySQL is that one no longer needs to take a db offline to carryout exercises on data. Additionally, one can continue to insert data into archives, which is not feasible in existing MyISAM compressions.