This is a guest post from Sam Diaz of TechRepublic’s sister site ZDNet. You can follow Sam on his ZDNet blog Between the Lines, or subscribe to the RSS feed.

At the afternoon keynote at the Intel Developer Forum, Executive VP Sean Maloney took some time to talk about what Intel is doing to address the needs of the enterprise and the changing data center.

The reality, he said, is that the data center is undergoing a major transformation these days and that three elements – computing, storage and networking – are beginning to overlap, meaning that you can’t really address one without considering the others.

At the same time, data centers are becoming more diverse. There’s no longer a one-size-fits-all way of dealing with data centers. Some are designed to power a small- to medium-sized business or remote office, while others might be powering a communications center or a cloud or a full infrastructure.

But Maloney points out that the each of these data centers have common requirements – performance, energy efficiency and virtualization. “All the underlying technical challenges are the same,” Maloney said. To address them, Intel next year will launch Tukwila, which is built on the Itanium family of processors, as well as performance enhancements to Nehalem, which is built on Xeon.

Maloney also touched on security and the enhancements that will come with the launch of the Westmere 32nm die-shrink of Nehalem. He noted that there are people out there who are trying to “crack transactions on the Internet” and do other bad stuff and that Intel is building directly into the architecture the technology that customers need to be better protect themselves.

“As Westmere moves in, the infrastructure will be there to do more secure transactions across the Internet, on the client and on the server,” Maloney said.

Beyond that, Maloney also touched on the client side and even had some fun on the stage to show what sort of technologies could be deployed in a Las Vegas-style, computerized slot machine.

The touch-screen machine would not only be smart enough to switch from slots to roulette or other games but also recognize a player and even allow him to order a drink. (That’s my kind of slot machine.) And so, Maloney pressed the “play” button and watched as the wheels begin to spin and he hit the 7s for a jackpot.

Maloney slot machine demo is a lot like Intel’s thinking about the future of chip technology. Both have been programmed to win.

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