How much of CSE you need to install varies on the user type and what part of CSE and Kubernetes you will interact with. Here’s a short table to help decide what to install.

User Type Task(s)
Kubernetes user Install kubectl on laptop or workstation
Org admin managing K8s clusters Install CSE and configure CSE client on laptop or VM
Cloud admin installing CSE in VCD Install CSE on server host

Naturally a cloud admin may install the CSE client to test cluster creation after CSE server setup. Similarly a tenant org administrator may install kubectl to check Kubernetes clusters or perform administrative tasks.

Install Kubectl

Install kubectl using directions from the Kubernetes web site.

Install CSE Software

Install python 3.7.3+, 3.8.x, 3.9.x or 3.10.x.

See python installation instructions and downloads at or consult the vcd-cli install procedure.

Please note: PhotonOS 3 supports only python 3.7, while PhotonOS 4 supports only python 3.10.

One of the libraries that CSE depends on (viz. lru-dict) needs the following python packages:

PhotonOS essentials for python to work with CSE
tdnf update
tdnf install build-essential
tdnf install python3-devel

Ubuntu OS essentials for python to work with CSE
# x = the minor version of python 3
sudo apt install python3.x-dev

If these packages are missing, CSE installtion will fail with the following error:

error: command 'x86_64-linux-gnu-gcc' failed with exit status 1

Pip, python’s package manager is present by default in every python installation. To make sure it is present and updated to its latest version, run

python -m ensurepip --upgrade

Verify python and pip installation:

$ python3 --version
Python 3.7.3

$ pip3 --version
pip 21.2.4 from /usr/local/lib/python3.7/site-packages/pip (python 3.7)

Install and verify CSE:

$ pip3 install container-service-extension

$ cse version
CSE, Container Service Extension for VMware vCloud Director, version 3.1.3

Alternatively, a specific version of CSE can be installed from GitHub as follows:

> pip3 install git+

To discover available CSE source versions on GitHub see the following URL:

Enable CSE Client

After initial installation of CSE, if you try running vcd cse commands, you’ll probably notice an error like the the following:

> vcd cse version
Error: No such command "cse".

This means that the CSE client is not enabled in vcd-cli. To enable CSE client in vcd-cli, edit ~/.vcd-cli/profiles.yaml to include the following (at the end of the file):

- container_service_extension.client.cse

Save the file and try again. vcd cse commands should now work.