A Kafka Connect cluster is made up of one or more worker processes, and the cluster distributes the work of connectors as tasks. When a connector or worker is added or removed, Kafka Connect will attempt to rebalance these tasks. Before version 2.3 of Kafka, the cluster stopped all tasks, recomputed where to run all tasks, and then started everything again. Each rebalance halted all ingest and egress work for usually short periods of time, but also sometimes for a not insignificant duration of time.
Now with KIP-415, Apache Kafka 2.3 instead uses incremental cooperative rebalancing, which rebalances only those tasks that need to be started, stopped, or moved. For more details, there are available resources that you can read, listen, and watch, or you can hear the lead engineer on the work, Konstantine Karantasis, talk about it in person at the upcoming Kafka Summit.
Looks like some nice improvements here.