I have my VMDK/RAW files on a Linux server which is connected to a CIFS share, I want to get them copied up to the local datastore of my standalone host running ESXi 5 free. I mounted the CIFS share on my Win Desktop and used vSphere client to copy them to the datastore but it is going too slow < 1MB/s. What are my other options? Physically removing disks is not an option.
There aren't any I'm afraid, that's as quick as it'll get unless you can copy the files to an NFS server that can act as a datastore. Others have tried SCP'ing files but it's treated as such a low priority job that it's slower than the VIClient method you're using.
You're doing all you can.