It is possible to create the same application using RMI and EJB. But in case of EJB the container provides the requisite services to the component if we use the proper syntax. It thus helps in easier development and lesser error and use of proven code and methodology. But the investment on application server is mandatory in that case.
But this investment is warranted because it results in less complex and maintainable code to the client, which is what the end client wants. Almost all the leading application servers provide load balancing and performance tuning techniques. In case of RMI we have to code the services and include in the program the way to invoke these services.