Creating a virtualenv with Python 3.7.3

As I’ve mentioned in recent posts, VMware’s Container Service Extension 2.0 (CSE) has recently been released. The big news around the 2.0 release is the ability to provision Enterprise PKS clusters via CSE.

It’s important to note that CSE 2.0 has a dependency on Python 3.7.3 or later. I had some trouble managed different versions of Python3 on the CentOS host I used to support the CSE server component. I wanted to document my steps in creating a virtual environment via virtualenv utilizing Python 3.7.3 and installing CSE Server 2.0 within the virtual environment.

virtualenv is a tool to create isolated Python environments. virtualenv creates a folder which contains all the necessary executables to use the packages that a Python project would need. This is useful in my situation as I had various versions of Python 3 installed on my CentOS server and I wanted to ensure Python 3.7.3 was being utilized exclusively for the CSE installation while not effecting other services running on the server utilizing Python3.

Installing Python 3.7.3 on CentOS

The first thing we need to do is install (and compile) Python 3.7.3 on our CentOS server.

We’ll need some development packages and the GCC compiler installed on the server:

# yum install -y zlib-devel gcc openssl-devel bzip2-devel libffi-devel

Next, we’ll pull down the Python 3.7.3 bits from the official Python site and unpack the archive:

# cd /usr/src
# wget
# tar xzf Python-3.7.3.tgz
# cd Python-3.7.3

At this point we need to compile the Python source code on our system. We’ll use altinstall as not to replace the system’s default python binary located at /usr/bin/python:

# ./configure --enable-optimizations
# make altinstall

Now that we’ve compiled our new version of Python, we can clean up the archive file and check our python3.7 version to ensure we compiled our source code correctly:

# rm /usr/src/Python-3.7.3.tgz
# python3.7 -V
Python 3.7.3

Finally, we need to use pip to install the virtualenv tool on our server:

# pip3.7 install virtualenv

Creating our virtualenv

Now we’re ready to create our virtual environment within which to install CSE 2.0 server. First, let’s create a user that we’ll utilize to deploy the CSE server within the virtual environment. We can create the user and then switch to that user’s profile:

# useradd cse
# su - cse

Now we need to create a directory that will contain our virtual environment. In this example, I used the cse-env directory to house my virtual environment:

$ mkdir ~/cse-env

Now we need to create our virtual environment for our Python 3.7.3 project:

$ python3.7 -m virtualenv cse-env
Using base prefix '/usr/local'
New python executable in /home/cse/cse-env/bin/python3.7
Also creating executable in /home/cse/cse-env/bin/python
Installing setuptools, pip, wheel...

Before you can start installing or using packages in the virtual environment, we’ll need to activate it. Activating a virtual environment will put the virtual environment-specific python and pip executables into your shell’s PATH. Run the following command to activate your virtual environment:

$ source ~/cse-env/bin/activate

Now check the default python version within the environment to verify we are using 3.7.3:

$ python -V
Python 3.7.3
$ pip -V
pip 19.1.1 from /home/cse/cse-env/lib/python3.7/site-packages/pip (python 3.7)

Now we’re ready to install the CSE server and we won’t have to worry about Python version conflicts as we are installing the CSE packages within our virtual environment, which will only utilize Python 3.7.3.

Stay tuned for my next post which will walk through an installation of Container Service Extension server!!

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