As the year-end approaches, applications have become a dominant focus of consolidation in IT. Two in particular captured our attention here at Enterprise Management Associates in the week before Thanksgiving: Citrix's acquisition of Teros, a leading vendor of Web application security systems; and only one day later, IBM's acquisition of Collation, a leader in application resource mapping.As the year-end approaches, applications have become a dominant focus of consolidation in IT. Two in particular captured our attention here at Enterprise Management Associates in the week before Thanksgiving: Citrix's acquisition of Teros , a leading vendor of Web application security systems; and only one day later, IBM's acquisition of Collation, a leader in application resource mapping.These moves underscore the importance of composite and distributed Web and enterprise applications as a central focus of the convergence that is sweeping across multiple aspects of IT. IBM's acquisition of Collation is only the latest in a series of moves that Big Blue has made in order to secure its future in a world that seems to be made to order for the IT giant's strategic focus.Beginning with the assembly of a group of assets from Cyanea, Candle and Rational, IBM has increasingly turned up the heat on its application integration and management assets in order to strengthen a position already well centered on the WebSphere family.What Collation brings to this mix is the ability to map the relationships, dependencies and dynamics among all the many assets and individual applications that are used to deliver Services in the enterprise. Of course this will be especially useful in understanding the complex nature of composite enterprise applications. This is complementary to IBM's offerings such as IBM Tivoli Composite Application Management (ITCAM), Tivoli Provisioning Manager, and especially to the new Change and Configuration Manager (CCMDB) which is the central point of IBM's IT Service Management portfolio. This will not only reinforce IBM\u2019s ability to manage composite applications, but also provide immediate visibility into packaged and business applications, and help deliver federated enterprise resource infomation in support of its IT Service Management strategy.As with previous trends that have focused on the potential of the Web, today's ambitious application initiatives are teeming with optimism - an optimism that cloaks a host of risks in application integration that have yet to be fully understood by IT practitioners, but which are being vigorously exploited by increasingly mercenary attackers. As a result, the security of Web applications is quickly coming to the fore.This was emphasized by Citrix' acquisition of Teros, a leader in the emerging segment of Web application firewalls, only a day before IBM's acquisition of Collation. As with IBM and its sequence of application-centric deals, the Teros acquisition is but the latest in a series of Citrix moves that are bringing it into the mainstream of application delivery vendors.These moves are not as big a stretch of the Citrix value proposition as many seem to think. Citrix's strength has always been in the ability to enable applications to four-wheel-drive over any delivery terrain. With the increasing centrality of the Web to application delivery, it is only natural that Citrix would seek to stake out an ownership lead in the Web and enterprise application space. Hence Citrix's acquisition of NetScaler earlier this year, which echoes the significance attached to the networking of applications reflected in both Cisco's Application-Oriented Networking initiative, as well as in IBM's acquisition of DataPower for networking service-oriented architectures.With so many of the industry's leaders focusing on applications, and with the convergence of so many different aspects of IT in the application space, who knows what interesting alignments we may see next - but they are sure to come, most likely sooner rather than later.