Not neccessarily a step above or a step below, the concept of network storage is nothing new. But for Zetera Network Storage, they made it new. They have tried to do away with the traditional concept of needing a drive controller and for the most part a "network" to give your NAS life.
With the Zetera's implementation, you have hard drives that are directly accessible via an IP address, split into virtual devices with unique addresses, or be combined in a linear-raid fashion. A feature similair to multi-channel reads that I found incredibly interesting was using multicasting to read/write data to many drives at the same time. As for bulky hardware and setup?
"To home users, the drive looks more or less like a USB disc drive, only it's shared, and performance and storage capacity are far greater."
This technology is also apparently designed for and affordable by home users, primarily to allow many computers to share very large files with ease.